BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON – Soccer fields at Davis County schools are gradually becoming BYOG fields Р for Bring Your Own Goal.
After meeting with representatives from three soccer clubs that utilize school fields, the school district decided to remove permanent goal posts starting at schools in the south end of the district and moving to those in the north end over time.
“The whole issue is based on safety,” said Gary Payne, administrator of facilities for the district.
When the goal posts are permanent, the ground around them becomes hardened and the grass disappears, he said.
“When a child goes to dive to block a goal and is landing on dirt or in mud, it’s a safety issue,” said Payne.
Permanent posts can also present a hazard when children run into them.
“Our risk manager said that he’s seen an increase in claims with kids playing soccer,” he said.
Representatives from Forza Futbol Club, American Youth Soccer Organization and Wasatch Soccer Club met with district officials in April.
“Forza (representatives) stated that with this decision they will be able to host more teams than what they can now,” said Payne. “They will be able to service more of our kids. They asked us to do it sooner than later.”
Representatives from Wasatch Soccer Club, a group that utilizes fields in Kaysville, asked for a one-year reprieve to give them time to buy more portable posts.
Some posts in that area were removed prematurely when “our maintenance staff got a little ahead,” said Payne. The rest will be left until next year.
Portable goals have merit, according to Robert Taylor, president of Wasatch Soccer Club. He has personally spent time and money repairing the area in front of goals on school fields.
When looking at it objectively, there are also concerns, he said in an email.
“Taking away the goals may take away the spontaneous play during recess and after school of kids who just want to play and are not a part of an organized program,” he wrote.
Portable goals are not without risk of injury if not anchored properly, he added. They cost between $3,000 and $4,000, a considerable expense to a club.
Teams play rugby, lacrosse, football and baseball on school fields, and already bring their own equipment for those sports, said Payne.
“We’re concerned about everyone who uses our fields,” he said.
Forza supporters will build their own portable posts for “pennies on the dollar,” said Payne. They purchased surplus pipe cut from goals in Davis County fields for that purpose.
“We have tremendous demand on our facilities but we included these soccer clubs in this discussion and they concurred that what we were doing is a good thing,” Payne said.