Standing water, vandalism means game over at Redoubt Soccer
By Megan Boatwright
Eyewitness News Reporter
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- It's game over for hundreds of young Chattanooga soccer players. Vandalism and standing water closed Redoubt fields March 11th-13th. This weekend would have marked the kickoff to spring season. Instead, parents and players gathered, shovels and rakes in hand, to repair damages left by a joyrider on an ATV.
This isn't the first time Redoubt has been vandalized. The Redoubt Soccer Association is working closely with Chattanooga police to find out who is behind it. This latest incident is the third time since Christmas that field eight has seen damages from tire tracks, but the tread marks left behind Monday night are by far the worse.
"He was really dissappointed not to be waking up, putting on cleats and coming out to play," says Coach John Millard of his 4-year-old son.
Empty, quiet fields at Redoubt soccer Saturday. More than 700 kids were scheduled to play their first games of the season, but mother nature and a persistant vandal had different plans.
"We were supposed to have a game against Soddy-Daisy Thursday night at field eight," Millard says. "Obviously we weren't able to do that."
Millard is the soccer coach at East Hamilton High School. His varsity high school boys were scheduled to play scrimmage.
"It's challenging because we have to try to find other venues to play," Millard says. "You want to get the game in, you want to get prepared for the regular season that's coming Tuesday."
Saturday parents, coaches and players pulled roots, poured sand, grass seed and fertilizer on tire tracks discovered Tuesday morning.
"We figure it's probably somebody pulling a prank or just out joyriding," says Greg Love, president of the Redoubt Soccer Association. "Really, this isn't the place to do it."
Love says this is the third time since Christmas that field eight has been damaged by tread marks. After the second vandalism the association considered putting up a fence, but that would cost $10,000.
"We're working with Chattanooga police and offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who gives us information leading to the arrest of the vandal," he says.
Tire ruts mean difficulty dribbling and a greater risk of injury to players. Other fields aren't damaged, but still too wet from recent flooding for playtime. Altogether, a damper on the beginning of spring season.
"The people it's having an impact on are the kids," Love says.
Field eight could be out of commission for up two weeks. The rest of the fields should be dry enough for games Monday night. If you have any information about the vandalism visit www.redoubtsoccer.com or contact chattanooga police at 423-643-5000.