Murphysboro Soccer Turning Old Factory Into Fields

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By Nick Hausen

MURPHYSBORO -- Kids may soon be playing soccer at a new place in Murphysboro. Ten acres of land donated on the south side of town will be converted into brand new fields.

Tuesday afternoon, crews were hard at work cleaning up old structures and clearing land around an old vitamin factory on the south side of Murphysboro where new soccer fields are planned.

"There's no real definite timetable, but we will have fields prepared here in the next month or two, and seed sown, and they should be playable early next spring, maybe late this fall," said Jason Spears, president of Murphysboro Soccer Inc.

Now in its seventh season, Murphysboro Soccer has continued to grow. The not-for-profit youth league is even working with Murphysboro High School to establish an IHSA soccer team starting in 2016.

"We're hoping it starts at the ground, and kids enjoy it, like it, and we start developing great players," explained Spears. "Perhaps high school athletes, those high school athletes maybe go on and play college soccer, something of that nature."

Right now, the soccer league uses fields owned by the Elks Club next door to the new site. It has grown from 200 kids the first season to nearly 300 this year.

"I think for a long time [they] never grew up with soccer, a good chunk of them, and once they actually experience the game, the parents even that never had it as kids enjoy it, they enjoy watching," said Spears.

As the sport's popularity grows in southern Illinois, Murphysboro Soccer is finding it harder to get coaches, but the league hopes the former factory site will soon be building an even bigger fan base for the sport of soccer.

Murphysboro Soccer is looking for donations to help develop the new site. Those can be sent to P.O. Box 664 in Murphysboro, Illinois 62966 or you can call Murphysboro Soccer at (618) 201-0233.

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