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Soccer club restructures competitive teams

The soccer club is on its way to building its own indoor fields at the soccerplex on Wemple Road. Tentative plans first came before the Town of Bethlehem in February, and since then the club has been moving toward hiring a fundraising consultant for a drive that will hopefully begin in early 2011, said club President Mark Sweeney. The club plans to build the roughly $3.5 million project with donations and financing.

"The community support for the project is going to be absolutely key," Sweeney said. "We're looking at making this something for everybody."

The preliminary plan calls for a building that can contain three large regulation sized fields, one slightly smaller field, and a 350-by-250-foot indoor facility that would contain enough space for offices and an additional full sized field, which could be split up into smaller sections for other uses.

The club has also been looking at locating the facility close to the Thruway instead of in the center of the soccerplex property, to better make use of the space there. That would require cooperation with Verizon, since the company has fiber-optic lines running underground there.

Renting out space at other facilities costs teams between $50,000 and $75,000 every year, according to the club. Once constructed the facility could also produce revenue for the club through rentals.

"We're still going for the full project. Our initial feedback is that it is possible," said Sweeney.

Registration for the Youth Academy is open until Oct. 1. There are three age groups: 13- and 14-year-olds, 15- and 16-year-olds and 17- and 18-year-olds. The club will continue to offer a travel soccer program from ages eight to 12, and its popular recreational program " a noncompetitive league " starting at prekindergarten.

For more information and to register, visit www.bethlehemsoccerny.com.""

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