The Coast News Group

Oceanside Pop Warner Football teams are short on field space

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside Pop Warner Football coaches and parents say there is not enough field space for football practice, and the cost of holding games in a stadium is too high.

Pop Warner supporters shared their concerns at the Oct. 15 City Council meeting. They said 1,000 boys and girls are involved in football and cheer leading, but those numbers continue to decrease as registration costs rise to cover field costs.

A major expense is use of Oceanside and El Camino High School football stadiums for games, which speakers said cost more than $3,000 a pop. The city cannot control the cost the school district charges to use its fields, which have recently been upgraded with Astroturf.

At the meeting, Mayor Jim Wood agreed the cost of using high school stadiums was unacceptably high, and he promised to talk to the school district.

Councilman Jack Feller said a workshop would be held to address city field use as soon as possible.

City staff was quick to respond to Pop Warner’s request for more city park space. Staff meetings were held the following week to determine field distribution to better accommodate football next year.

The city delegates field space to sports groups on an annual basis through the Oceanside Athletic Foundation, which is comprised of representatives from each sports organization.

“We could always use more fields in town,” Michelle Lawrence, deputy city manager, said. “The demand exceeds supply. We do our best to accommodate everybody, and keep most people happy.”

Staff said they are working to redistribute available park space, in order to provide Pop Warner with a home field in the year ahead. This requires allowing permanent goal posts to be installed.

Pop Warner officials could not be reached to address whether their association representative had brought up concerns to the athletic foundation, or attempted to negotiate for better rates with the school district.

Lawrence said the city would contact Pop Warner officials with field solutions for next year. The city does not have a stadium to offer the league.