Saratoga County

Gavin Park gets ready for youth soccer tournament

Workers at Gavin Park are preparing seven soccer fields in the town park for a large-scale youth


Workers at Gavin Park are preparing seven soccer fields in the town park for a large-scale youth soccer tournament to be held next weekend.

More than 90 club soccer teams from the Capital Region, Vermont and Massachusetts will to play in the “May Day Soccer Classic” on April 26 and April 27.

“They have great people out there,” said town Supervisor Arthur Johnson about the town recreation department’s field maintenance staff.

“They are great fields, and we are really proud of them,” Johnson said on Wednesday.

And in two months the town will open another six soccer fields at the town park on Jones Road, Johnson said.

The town entered into a long-term agreement with the Saratoga Springs City School District two years ago.

The agreement allowed the town to create sports fields on 15 acres of district property behind the Dorothy Nolan Elementary School on Jones Road. The town spent $350,000 on the fields project.

Stephen Porto, the town’s recreation director, said contractors removed trees and stumps from the district land and created and seeded the new sports fields last fall. A built-in field sprinkler system is included in the project.

Porto said he expects the new soccer fields to be ready for a grand opening sometime in June.

“We could have tried to get them open earlier,” Johnson said about the new fields.

But Johnson said the seven existing fields are adequate for the annual May Day Classic soccer tournament.

“When they [new fields] are ready, we can open them,” Johnson said.

Porto said the ninth annual soccer classic tournament attracts as many as 2,000 of top boys’ and girls’ club soccer players and another 2,000 parents and other fans. The event is again being coordinated by the Saratoga-Wilton Youth Soccer Club.

Porto said the youth soccer club members help the recreation department maintenance crew with the fields.

“The club helps by doing the [field] lining,” Porto said. “They put the fields on our property and we maintain them.”

Porto said Gavin Park is also the club’s home base for regular season games and practices.

The park concessions will be offering breakfast, lunch and dinner during the soccer tournament.

Porto said the soccer tourney is just the first in a string of major events at the town park.

The Cal Ripken baseball league will hold a 12-year-old and under state tournament at Gavin Park from July 11 through July 16. Youth baseball teams from across the state will be coming to the park in the program sponsored by Wilton Youth Baseball.

The town of Wilton will hold its annual Community Day on July 12 during the tournament. This day will feature hot air balloon rides, a rock climbing wall, a crafts fair, farmer’s market, live band music, carnival midway rides, and a lavish fireworks display at dusk, Porto said.

On June 7 and June 8 the annual Thoroughbred Summer Basketball Classic will play games in Gavin Park’s two indoor gyms. The basketball tournament for girls 10 and under and 16 and under will also play games at the Maple Avenue Middle School and Skidmore College. This event attracts teams from throughout the Northeast.

In late June the park will host some of the annual Shenendtaha College Showcase Soccer Tournament games with soccer teams from New Jersey, New York, New England and Maryland competing. College soccer coaches attend these games.

As with all the events, admission is free and open to the public.

Porto said work will start soon on a new Babe Ruth League baseball field for older boys. The Babe Ruth League players had been using a field also used for softball.

The new field will be built on what is currently a soccer field. The softball field will then be used for softball leagues only.

In the distant future, the park master plan shows a stadium-type baseball and athletic field on land in the southeastern corner of the park. Johnson said this field would be visible from the Northway and have lights for night play but is still in the early discussion phase.

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