The Graham Soccer Association renovated its fields last weekend as part of an overarching campaign to attract more youth soccer players.

GSA board members spent hours removing rusted pipes, grass burrs and ants from the fields at the bottom of Spivey Hill. They also fixed the fence to make the area safer for the upcoming season.

“(Our first goal) was have a safe place to play soccer down there,” Pete Clark, who oversees the field maintenance, said. “Now I think we can accomplish that this year and then we'll move on to how do we get more kids to play soccer.”

The fields had been mowed in the past, but nothing else was really done to take care of the area, Clark said.

The GSA has turned to the local community for help painting the fence and fields, and has talked with the Bryson and Newcastle communities about helping to chalk the fields. The organization is also trying to raise money for nets and corner posts.

Clark said the number of fields used and their dimensions will depend on how many kids play soccer, and currently the GSA envisions two fields for the 3- and 4-year-olds and a big field that could be split into two or three sections for the older groups. 

This would help the games end earlier so teams aren't playing in the heat of the day, Clark said.

Read the full story in this weekend's Graham Leader.