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Allen Field group close on fund goal

Nomad soccer clubs abandon La Jolla

As La Jolla Youth Inc. closes in on its goal of raising $100,000 to expand much-needed parking at Allen Field along Torrey Pines Road, the organization learned the Nomads teams are leaving the field.

The nonprofit soccer club, which was largely responsible for building Allen Field in 1982, vacated its clubhouse/corporate office at the field on Monday, citing “irreconcilable differences” with La Jolla Youth Soccer League and La Jolla Youth, Inc.

Mary Kaliff, Nomads general manager, said they had been told previously that, since the fundraising effort for parking expansion at the field had fallen short of its goal, that they would be responsible for a large part of the cost of capital improvements, which she said was unacceptable.

‘A misunderstanding’

However, Murray Helm president of La Jolla Youth Inc., said the split is amicable and that it is a misunderstanding that the organization expected the Nomads to shoulder a large share of the capital improvement burden for the field.
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“We just asked them to solicit donations from families,” he said, “and very little was received.”

Helm said the Nomads departure wouldn’t adversely affect operations or maintenance of Allen Field, although he noted that the team still owes some money under its contract.

“It means the field will become a field for the youth of La Jolla,” he said, “and that we will no longer be forced to share it with soccer players from other areas of San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties, even Mexican citizens. The bottom line is the Nomads couldn’t afford to stay there.”

Nomads in Clairemont

Kaliff said the team has a field and a building at Hickman Youth Complex in Clairemont where they will be based and will also build another field elsewhere.
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“Boys will practice in Clairemont and girls will practice at Doyle Elementary School. Tryouts will go on as usual,” she said.

Meanwhile, the La Jolla Youth organization needs only $20,000 to raise the total amount needed to double the number of parking spaces at Allen Field from 14 to 27 spaces required by a lease renewal agreement with the city of San Diego.

By the end of summer the group had raised just $35,000, but thanks to generous La Jollans, an additional $45,000 has been collected since.

Helm said the recent donations include one from an anonymous donor who gave $30,000, Three others gave $5,000 donations - the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation, Mark Grosvenor and Christopher McKellar.

“Papa” Doug Manchester donated $10,000.

To raise the remaining $20,000, the group has applied for a grant to Las Patronas, a La Jolla philanthropic group that has donated more than $12 million to more than 1,000 charitable organizations.

Being considered

“We absolutely will consider it,” said Tracy Lyon, Las Patronas vice president, about Youth Inc’s grant request. She said that request would be considered along with others submitted by the Jan. 9 deadline for spring grant awards to be announced in mid-April.

Helm noted that the major problem with parking at Allen Field is not so much space as timing. With people coming and going, dropping off and picking up youth from soccer all at once at peak hours, parking and congested circulation lead to cars stacking up in waits presenting a serious accident hazard.

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More work needed

Helm said more parking capacity is needed at the soccer field.

“It’s a danger up there,” he said. “A real hazard.”

Helm said the conditions of the new lease to operate the soccer field set forth two capital improvements that must be complied with in both the short and long term. The more immediate condition involves improving parking conditions for the field. Later on, a restroom facility needs to be built, he said.

Helm said Allen Field is presently closed for four weeks for winter renovation. The field is typically closed for six weeks in both winter and summer. This year, some of the work normally done during the winter break is being postponed until summer’s renovation, which will likely be extended an extra two weeks to accommodate parking lot expansion.