Our wet and dreary Spring is wrecking havoc on outdoor sports, and Mother Nature is to blame for the cancellation of a large soccer tournament in Amherst, this weekend.
“Every one of the fields has an area like this that is just unplayable,” Club Administrator Marty Ott said, as he took News 4 on a tour of the North French Soccer Complex.
The complex was supposed to be the main hub of the tournament. All eight fields on the complex are saturated.
The Amherst Soccer Association travel league has put together this tournament for 39 years. It’s the club’s biggest fundraiser. About 125 teams were expected to come to Amherst from all over WNY, and parts of Canada and Pennsylvania.
“It’s about 4,000 to 5,000 people who circulate through here.”
Last night, after touring the fields, organizers decided it was necessary to pull the plug.
“It feels like walking on sand at some points,” Ott said.
On our tour of the fields, News 4 came across a rut in one that was about six inches deep and several inches wide.
The organization had to cancel the tournament one other time, in 2011, but Ott said the fields look worse this year, than eight years ago.
And with the cancellation of the tournament, the non-profit organization is losing out on a lot of money. Ott believes they’ll be about $12,000 in the hole after this.
“Awards that are dated for this year’s tournament, printing costs, we make signage for sponsors, we might have to refund money to various people because we can’t follow through on our agreements, we had rentals we had to pay deposits on.”
There are about 1,000 kids playing in two leagues there this year: recreation and travel. The start of the recreation league was delayed three weeks. They finally played this last Saturday, but thundershowers canceled many of the games that day. The travel league has had to reschedule 40 to 50 games so far.