Sports Park Soccer Fields Need Improvements

A resident volunteer in youth sports recently urged the city council to give some TLC to city-owned soccer fields at the Sports Park. In a letter to the council, Tifani Brakke-Strane wrote;

 “I am a parent, soccer coach & community member of San Juan Capistrano. I am writing you regarding the very poor condition of our soccer fields at SJC Sports Park. We participate in tournaments all over South Orange County, and sadly, our fields are by far the worst we’ve seen. We love our town and do everything we can to support our local community, however, our fields are an embarrassment when we have to host other local cities, and often dangerous because of the condition of the fields. I am speaking on behalf of my team, my family and many friends in San Juan Capistrano, and hope you will seriously give this some much needed attention.  

Furthermore, in an additional effort to support our SJC community, I have been volunteering my time to plan and run the Swallows Classic Soccer Tournament on June 25 & 26 at the SJC Sports Park soccer fields. As a committee, we are all very concerned about the condition of our soccer fields. Teams are coming from all over to participate in this tournament, and they will be here for 2-3 days spending money on local hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions in San Juan Capistrano, but will likely be very disappointed when they show up on Saturday morning and see the condition of our fields. They’re spending a lot of money to participate in the tournament and spend a weekend in our town…we should be able to provide them with decent fields to play soccer on, or they just won’t come back, which would be shame for AYSO, and also all our local businesses who benefit from the business that weekend. We really need your help! Time is of the essence as our tournament is just a month away. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE look into this and help us get our fields in better shape. We live in a beautiful area, and our children deserve to play on nice fields… it’s the least we can do, particularly when all of our neighboring towns have nice soccer fields for their children to play on… “

The letter highlights the lack of attention given to the Sports Park fields, while the council is considering spending $500,000 to install a recycled water line to the Riding Park fields at Ortega & La Pata (see CCS - April edition).
This also raises the issue of lack of access to the taxpayer-owned Riding Park fields by youth sports groups – especially when SJC voters were promised that youth sports would have access to this “open space”. Blenheim Facilities Management (“BFM”) the company hired by the city to oversee scheduling and maintenance at the 70-acre Riding Park, charges nearly three times the amount the city charges for other city-owned soccer fields. This makes it prohibitively expensive for most soccer groups to use the Riding Park fields. BFM’s contract also requires them to schedule six city event days per year however, they have not yet met that requirement. 

Questions are now being raised about the lack of access at the Riding Park, and the exhorbitant fees charged by BFM for use of the fields. Some question whether this is by design in order to prevent soccer groups from using the fields, which frees up more event dates for equestrian events from which a BFM affiliated company, Blenheim EquiSports, profits.

The city Parks & Recreation Commission will be reviewing the event scheduling and access issues at the Riding Park at an upcoming meeting.  

Do you think the Sports Park soccer fields are well maintained? Should the soccer fields at Ortega & La Pata be more accessible to youth sports groups? The CCS wants to hear from you! Email us at:


1 comment:

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