Saving ‘Soccer Park’ after flood waters leave grounds in ruins

FENTON, MO (KTVI) - One of the biggest casualties of the recent flood is a landmark on the St. Louis sports scene. Worldwide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton is in ruin and there’s no flood insurance.

But soccer is family in St. Louis. The family is rallying to the cause. The non-profit, St. Louis - Scott Gallagher Soccer Club, owns and operates the complex. Flood insurance just costs too much, but damage may top a million dollars.

“This is the crown jewel of soccer in St. Louis,” said executive director, Patrick Barry.

Two of the four fields are lost the playing turn either completely washed away or carried into the bleachers.  The central field where the St. Louis FC pro teams plays needs to be deep cleaned and disinfected; so do the patios near the concession stands and all the bleachers – except the ones the flood mangled and carried away. There’s no saving them.

“The crest was almost 5 feet higher than it ever has in recorded history. So, this is the worst flood ever in this part of the area. Obviously the damage far exceeds anything we’ve seen before,” Barry said.

For the first time ever, flood water got into the buildings: four feet of it.

Restoration workers are now stripping and replacing the walls from that point down.

“The cost of this is going to be north of $500,000 closing in on a million dollars before it’s all said and done,” Barry said.

The goal is to have everything ready by the time the St. Louis FC team starts practice in February and the 1,000-5,000 kids who play and practice here daily, return.

Donations are pouring in from social media. Mission Taco is having a “Save Soccer Park event Monday.

“Everybody go to Mission Taco and come join us and have a great meal and hopefully we’ll be able to raise some money to rebuild the Soccer Park…there’s a lot of history here and the soccer community is incredibly tight. It really is a family for soccer in St. Louis. So I’m not real surprised by the response so far,” Barry said.

Both Mission Taco locations, on the Loop and in Soulard, will donate 20% of their proceeds to soccer park, Monday.