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New turf field christened at Islander Middle School
City leaders and about 40 Islanders and their children welcomed the Island’s first artificial surface playfield apart from Islander Stadium.
The grand opening ceremony last Saturday morning was followed by a Select youth soccer match between two under-14 girls’ teams. The Mercer Island Youth Soccer Club team, Fuego, played the Spirit 93 from Northpoint.
“The girl’s are pumped about playing the inaugural game,” said Fuego coach Brad Felker. “The girls are having a great season, and they are getting excited about trying out for high school next year.”
Team Fuego, which took first place in the Select Gold-Emerald division last year, won the game 3 to 2 in the chilly morning rain. After lagging behind for much of the game, Fuego pulled even with the Spirit 93 squad with less than 10 minutes to go. The winning goal was shot with just five minutes remaining.
Before the game began, the mayor, City Council and School Board members christened the field by kicking and tossing a few balls toward a goal.
Mayor Bryan Cairns, MISD Interim Superintendent Gary Plano and Councilmember-elect Bruce Bassett all made speeches to commemorate the ceremony. On behalf of the school district and board members, Plano said he appreciated the working partnership between the schools and the city.
The city paid $755,000 for the field located at Islander Middle School.
Bassett, who led the effort to get the artificial surface, urged others in attendance to “stick their necks out” and work to bring other improvements to the community.
Dirt and puddles on the previous field were a common sight during the winter months.
“The irony of the thing is that the Island’s worst field was the only one with lights for night games,” Bassett said of the old field. “Now we have something people will actually want to use.”
Team members and parents were glad for the new field surface. One parent noted that once, a member of the opposing team stepped off the field behind the goal to retrieve the ball, and her foot plunged knee-deep into a muddy hole.
New bleachers were also added on both sides of the field along with a new track.