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AYSO given green light

$150,000 donation helps Corona del mar athletic center light up field for more children’s soccer practices, games.

November 22, 2007|By Brianna Bailey

The lights are officially on at Lincoln Athletic Center in Corona del Mar. AYSO Region 57 will celebrate the dedication of the newly lighted field at 5:30 p.m. Thursday before its first Mayor’s Cup game, a championship tournament for the organization.

The region 57 board donated $150,000 to light the field because American Youth Soccer Organization teams have increasingly had to compete for fields as lacrosse has grown in popularity, and adult and club soccer leagues have flourished.

“It’s kind of one of those David versus Goliath stories,” said Gary Wright, a board member for AYSO Region 57. “Everyone told me it would be October of 2008 before we could cut though all the red tape. But we had good guidance from the city.”

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The light dedication comes after months of sifting through the many governmental agencies that are involved with building on public school grounds.

Region 57 offered to donate the money to light the field in April, but had to gain approval from neighbors, officials at the state and city level, and also work in coordination with Lincoln Elementary School and the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. More than six months later, AYSO finally has its lighted field.

The high-tech lighting at Lincoln uses 40% less energy than traditional lighting and is laser-aimed for less light spill into the neighborhood. The lights are radio-controlled, which allows the city to regulate usage and turn the lights on an off remotely.

Lighted fields are especially needed in the fall and winter months when the days grow shorter, Wright said.

Region 57 — one of three regions that serves the Newport-Mesa area — reports about 4,500 kids playing in 2006-07, according to Wright.

A new AYSO-wide policy that began this fall has shrunk team sizes to allow kids more playing time.

The policy has made it difficult to schedule games because of the lack of lighted fields in the area, Wright said, who schedules the region’s games.

“The lights will give them more time to practice and more night games,” Wright said. “Scheduling the past two seasons has been difficult because there’s not enough field space.”


BRIANNA BAILEY may be reached at (714) 966-4625 or at brianna.bailey@latimes.com.

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