By Paul T. Choate
Oct. 25, 2012. On Tuesday, Oct. 23, the High Country Soccer Association (HCSA) capital campaign committee met at Makoto’s in Boone to discuss the final $70,000 needed for the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex’s (TMSC) pending mortgage payments.
Hosted by Makoto’s Owner Gwen Dhing, the committee meets every two weeks to discuss their progress and tackle action items on their agendas for finding potential donors. At Tuesday’s meeting, the committee also took time to speak with High Country Press about the importance of TMSC to the community.
“I think if you look at raising kids in any community, participating in team sports is a very beneficial thing,” said Chip Williamson, chairman of the capital campaign. “So I think all the families feel very good that their kids can go out there to a safe environment any day of the week. That’s why it has been a huge enhancement to the community.”
Art Rex, a member of the fundraising committee and former soccer coach at ASU, praised the field for being so well designed and well kept.
Referring to when he coached at ASU, he said, “We played at the stadium and at that time it was Astroturf and it was like painting this carpet green,” Rex joked, pointing at the Makoto’s floor, adding that modern Astroturf at TMSC is much different and more similar to grass. “The surface of the field is so important. It’s just as important as the level of competition and as the coaching is. Now that the players have a consistent surface their development is skyrocketing.”
HCSA President Scott Davidson also noted that, being that it is Astroturf, it is rare that a game can be rained out, as can happen with grass fields.
The TMSC project dates back to a 2006 partnership between HCSA, Appalachian State University and Watauga County. The project cost was was ultimately $2 million including mortgage interest until 2015. With three grants received this spring, only $70,000 now remains to be raised.
ASU uses the complex for the home field of their men’s and women’s soccer teams. Additionally, Watauga County Parks and Recreation uses TMSC for some of their youth soccer games. An adult soccer league, a Hispanic soccer league and an Ultimate Frisbee League also play there.
Davidson estimates that “well over a thousand” people in total utilize the facility.
“The Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex has been highly utilized. It’s proven to be a big need in the community. It’s a huge asset and it has been very, very successful,” Williamson said.
Williamson said he believes the final $70,000 needed “could very well come together by the end of this year.”
He said their best sources of income currently are the four-foot by eight-foot advertising signs at the field, which cost $1,000 per year for five years. He also added that the community support has been instrumental and that direct donations have been very helpful. He noted Dr. Stacey Conn made the most substantial donation and requested that the field be named after her late husband, Ted Mackorell.
“We work very hard in our spare time to try to raise money to support soccer and, more importantly, the community at large,” Williamson said. “We’re committed to getting the $70,000 and we’ll do whatever it takes to do that.”
TMSC is located at 492 Brookshire Road, Boone.