We wanted to provide a few facts to some of the issues raised in the Concorde soccer field discussions. I’d like to point out some of the positives and several of the benefits to consider, in an attempt to provide another perspective.
• Concorde is a non-profit organization (501c3) with a defined mission statement to help kids (It’s not a private business or elitist club). Our family has been a part of numerous efforts to raise funds for scholarships so many of these children can pursue soccer as opposed to finding trouble in their neighborhood. On the Concorde website – www.concordefire.com – they list as their mission statement:
“Concorde Fire is organized in a way to encourage and teach young people in our community to play soccer at the very highest level of their abilities and at the highest level of competition. The ultimate goal is to help the player achieve the highest level of self-satisfaction…
Since 1982, The Atlanta Concorde Fire has had success in many areas of the game of soccer from the early teaching of young people to play the game through the development of teams to be state champions.
Concorde Fire strives to achieve excellence through outstanding coaching, outstanding fields, special programs and a competitive spirit. We are proud of the success of each player, each team, each coach, each parent and each friend that contributes to that success.”
The statement should reassure you as to the intent and benefits of the Concorde approach, not to mention the continuing success the club has had at fulfilling its mission (see the college list on the website).
• Is there a need for these fields? There are over 76,000 registered youth soccer players in Georgia – the most in the South, other than Texas and Florida. There is an extreme shortage of fields for these kids – particularly in metro Atlanta. We can tell you first hand that we’ve seen soccer fields across the country and the ones in Atlanta are by far the worst we ever see. Fields that Concorde currently use at Ashford Dunwoody, Ridgeview and Montgomery Ferry do not have bathroom facilities.
• Why is soccer so important to some of these kids? This is a growing sport and Concorde works hard to meet the needs within the Atlanta community and be a positive outlet for boys and girls. If you don’t have a child that benefited from, or played at Concorde, you likely know someone who does. It’s the benefits to our children that matter here. Soccer is a major avenue for many to be admitted to top colleges (listed on the website).
In fact, Concorde has been instrumental in helping over 150 student athletes gain college scholarships in the past five years – all pursuing a dream that was made possible to them by the club. Concorde is measured by its governing body on how well they help these athletes get into their college of choice. Club soccer is the way to college soccer – not high school soccer.
• Traffic and environmental concerns? There are traffic issues on Johnson Ferry that need to be addressed – soccer fields or not – so this is a great opportunity to get some relief, both to the traffic patterns and to the area overall. We live around the corner and believe Concorde’s fields could be a catalyst for improving traffic and the site’s environmental sensitivity. Many seem to miss this possibility and need to make an effort to work towards a mutual solution. After all, isn’t a park a good thing for a neighborhood and shouldn’t it be viewed as an opportunity to improve the area?
We have a Concorde player, so we’ve personally seen the benefits of this program on numerous children over the past 10 years. For the benefit of future or younger players, we wholeheartedly support the accomplishments and achievements that the new fields would help bring.
The program’s continuing success, and the intangible benefits to our children speak for themselves, and that’s the story to be told. The Concorde soccer club is a beneficial non-profit with a community mission, not a big corporation trying to manipulate the zoning. Please consider the positives from building of these fields, to our children and to the overall site improvement, as you consider this issue.
Bill and Elaine Moore