The Yankton Youth Soccer Association (YYSA) has played its home games at the Lewis and Clark Complex for years, but with the City of Yankton purchasing the land and earmarking it for development, the YYSA is kicking off its fundraising efforts to purchase a new home.
“Right now, we’re in limbo, because the fields we have, we don’t know when they’re going to go away,” Wes Chambers, president of YYSA, said. “It just depends if somebody decides to build up there, but we also know it takes time to develop a complex, so that’s why we’re moving forward to find a new home.”
As a non-profit organization, the YYSA uses any funds from its tournaments and fundraising events for its operating budget, with any additional funds going towards the move. They also hope there are partnerships in the future to ensure their goals.
“We really envision this to be a two-year project from start to finish, assuming we can get some momentum in the community around us,” Chambers said. “The closer you get to Yankton for land, obviously the higher the premium price tag.”
The YYSA serves roughly 600 to 800 kids from ages 6 to 19 every year, and the association pledged $100,000 over five years to the Yankton School District for sanctioned high school soccer.
The project for the YYSA is in its early stages, as the association is searching for a new plot of land and to spread the word about the fundraising campaign, of which Sondra Jensen is sponsorship chair.
“Our campaign is going to be two-fold, community awareness and fundraising but also land developments,” Jensen said. “It’s going to be about 2.6 million dollars and that would cover the cost of purchasing some fields, developing some ground and getting things ready for a complex at 40 acres. Forty acres would allow us around nine large fields to rotate, and there have been certain opportunities we have looked at.”
Since the U.S. qualified for the 1990 World Cup, youth soccer has grown by almost 100 percent nationwide, with around 3 million kids enrolled in youth soccer during the 2014 calendar year, according to the most recent numbers available from the U.S. Youth Soccer Association.
The YYSA has served roughly 4,500 kids during its 32-year existence and values its positive economic impact.
“Since the association started doing tournaments around 14 years ago, (the Yankton) Chamber of Commerce has projected our impact to the community is over $18 million, so we contribute to the community but also (have) economic impact,” Jensen said. “(From the most recent tournament), our economic impact is going to be between $450-$500,000.”
The hopes of the YYSA during this uncertain time is to reassure the kids involved that they will continue to have a place to play.
“The thing we want to do is create some confidence that things are going to be good. They have a lot of the same questions about what’s going on, but (the kids) just want to play soccer,” Jensen said.
For more information, visit the YYSA website at yanktonsoccer.com.