A campaign is getting underway to fund an artificial turf at the Waunakee High School Soccer Stadium along with a Team Center with locker rooms and a place for the trainer to administer to injured athletes.
Working with school district administrators on field improvements, a group comprising coaches and community members have created the One Community, One Goal campaign to raise funds.
At the Oct. 3 Waunakee Rotary meeting, Tara Swalve and boys’ soccer Coach Dave Kettner spoke about the need for improvements.
Kettner lives in Waunakee with his wife and three children. His father was a collegiate soccer coach and Kettner grew up playing the sport, he said.
“I really grew a passion for the game because of my father,” he said.
Kettner said his father dragged him along to a lot of the games.
“But the thing is, I grew a lot of passion for the sport because the sport teaches you as an individual so much more about what you can do not only as an individual but how you can progress through life,” he added. “Unlike a lot of sports, soccer is the type of game which is a constantly changing dynamic.”
Kettner described soccer as “almost like a chess match.”
When he became head boys’ soccer coach, he talked to girls’ head soccer coach, Ben Voss, about what they could do to improve the program, and the two focused on the needs.
Kettner said about 1,000 Waunakee youths play soccer.
The infrastructure at the high school soccer stadium was one of the focus areas. Kettner explained that in soccer, the playing surface is on the ground. It involves a lot of movement and change in direction and requires a quality surface. Right now, the Waunakee field is compromised. That causes games to be canceled or relocated during rain events.
Also, without a locker room or training facility on site, students have to carry their equipment all day with them, and girls often have to change on the sidelines.
“We think we can do better,” Kettner said.
Currently, youth soccer clubs play games at Ripp, Daleo, Centennial and other parks. Due to heavy rains, fields were closed at both Ripp and Daleo. The Waunakee game was cancelled Oct. 3.
An artificial turf field would extend the use of the stadium. The high school facility would be available nine months out of the year not only for high school students, but youth clubs.
It would also provide unique opportunities for other teams, such as the UW-Madison’s program, when they’re unable to play on their own grass fields.
Currently, soccer teams are seeing a shortage of referees. With a Team Center that includes bathrooms and locker rooms, the Waunakee program may also be able to attract referees, Kettner added.
When the matter was brought to Waunakee school district administrators, the school board had two consulting groups look at the fields.
District administrator Randy Guttenberg said the school board is still discussing the costs to refurbish the grass field. It has been determined that the clay field lacks the under-drainage necessary.
All in all, the One Community, One Goal campaign hopes to raise $1.2 million for the artificial turf and another $600,000 for the Team Center. So far, it has raised about $700,000 in funds and pledges and is now beginning to seek corporate sponsorships.
Guests: Caitlyn Stene, in place of Todd Schmidt.  
Visiting Rotarians: Tony Burns, Madison West Towne-Middleton.
Birthdays: None.
 Anniversaries: Oct. 10, Troy and Crystal Salisbury; Oct. 13, Ray and Harriet Statz; Oct. 13, Harriet and Ray Statz.
Programs: Oct. 10, Club Assembly.
Greeters: Oct. 10, Pat Durden and Fritz Durst; Oct. 17, Jim Elvekrog and Rex Endres; Oct. 17, Gary Epping and Bill Erickson; Oct. 24, Daniel Evans and Jim Fitzpatrick.