Council Subcommittee to Consider Options for New Haverhill Youth Soccer Field

UPDATE: A previous version of this story stated that Haverhill Youth Soccer has used fields at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, when in fact they have used those at Whittier Middle School. WHAV regrets the error.

Haverhill Youth Soccer wants the best fields possible for its hundreds of student athletes and is enlisting the help of city officials to achieve that goal. (File photograph.)

Representatives from Haverhill Youth Soccer are petitioning for a new field—or at the very least, repairs to existing turf—and a City Council subcommittee has agreed to explore possible upgrades.

The city’s Natural Resources and Public Property subcommittee is set to address alternatives for Haverhill’s youngest players after soccer reps Evan Barman and Edward Felker came before the City Council this week.

Hundreds of children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade participate in the program annually using fields at St. James School, Consentino and Whittier Middle School—and those areas are in a state of disarray, according to Felker. Among the issues, the soccer rep said, are sagging goal posts and exposed concrete.

Simple field upgrades would serve players for years to come, he told councilors.

“Basically, it would benefit everybody. It’s not just about creating a facility for Haverhill Youth Soccer solely, but really just helping us to promote the culture of soccer which is growing in leaps and bounds,” Felker said.

According to Felker, the southeast portion of Riverside Park would be ideal to hold a field for middle schoolers and a smaller field for elementary school students. He also suggested Cashman and Swasey Fields as secondary options. Funding could come from grants from the U.S. Soccer organization or private donations from sports-savvy corporations including Target and Continental Tire, Felker suggested.

While a timeline for possible upgrades remains to be seen, Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua appreciates Felker’s recommendations and applauded him advocating for Haverhill’s athletes. “I think it begins with a concept and I think you have laid it out very well,” Bevilacqua said.