North Powder Receives OSAA Grant for Soccer Field

Young athletes interested in playing soccer in North Powder will soon have their own field on which to perfect their game. This spring, the North Powder School District was awarded a $10,000 Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) Foundation School Participation Grant to build a new soccer field.

The school district applied for the grant this past winter and was invited to present to an OSAA grant committee on April 13. Out of 24 grants submitted, only eight schools were invited to present to the committee. To prepare for the presentation, North Powder Superintendent Lance Dixon asked the school’s digital communications class to create a video promoting why students play sports, why North Powder needed a soccer field/program and how an irrigation system was vital to this.

Dixon also asked parent Andi Walsh and her son, Jake Sexton, to speak at the grant committee presentation. Walsh’s daughter has played soccer in Baker City through the two schools’ sports co-op, but Walsh spoke about the challenges of commuting to practice and games in another town, plus the difficulty of playing for a school a student doesn’t attend. Sexton spoke about his desire to play soccer and his choice not to because of time away from school and friends.

North Powder was notified a few days after the presentation that only four schools received grant funding--out of those four, only two schools were fully funded and North Powder was one of them.

Dixon said soccer is a popular sport, but many rural communities do not have the land or infrastructure to provide a quality soccer field to children, student athletes or community members. He said having a field in North Powder will offer the chance to form teams locally and practice locally, bring business to the community with games and events, and build community support around an activity that fits the needs of another group of children and young adults.

The new soccer field will be located on eight blocks of vacant property owned by the North Powder School District. Grant funds will be used to install an irrigation system, including running electricity and purchasing and installing a pump and self-retracting reel hose sprinkler.

“We are excited about the opportunity to provide a venue for soccer right here in our community and are thankful that the efforts of several dedicated individuals to apply for the grant were recognized by OSAA,” Dixon said.