Soccer league being forced from San Marcos park

City officials choosing size over tenure

SAN MARCOS, Calif. - A San Marcos soccer field is turning into a battlefield as two separate youth soccer leagues are competing for usage of a park, leaving the city to pick sides.

At stake is Walnut Grove Park, located on the city's north side. For the past decade, it has hosted hundreds of San Marcos American Youth Soccer Organization players every weekend.

AYSO Commissioner Joanne Shannon told 10News the league invested about $100,000 in the park during that time.

Despite the investment, this season, the AYSO and its 1,200 players will get bumped from Walnut Grove in favor of a new league, San Marcos Youth Soccer.

San Marcos Community Services Director Buck Martin said the new league has more players and the park is a public park, not an AYSO park.

"The bottom line is we are trying to serve the entire community and meet the needs of the organizations that are serving the most citizens," said Martin.

Shannon said the AYSO will play its games at three different San Marcos locations.

"This is going to be a big financial burden on AYSO," she said.

Shannon also said it's going to cost thousands of dollars to move equipment between the three locations.

"We're going to have to get a storage facility for our easy-ups, our tables, our chairs," said Shannon.

She said that money will have to come from other important programs.

"We provide a lot of scholarship money for kids who can't afford to play," she said.

Martin said the leagues will switch every season, bringing the AYSO back to Walnut Grove next year.

The city has created a youth sports council to tackle issues like Walnut Grove in the future. City officials said it would review the park plans in another couple of years.

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