Langley United Soccer Association technical director Mark Parker came to Township council Monday to lobby for increased access to municipal artificial turf fields.

Turf wars in Township

Pair of local soccer leagues make a pitch to council for field access

The fighting by Langley-area youth soccer leagues over access to playing fields drew some critical comments from Langley Township council, Monday, Oct. 27.

Langley United Soccer Association (LUSA) technical director Mark Parker had come to council to argue for more playing time, taking several swipes at rival Langley FC (LFC) in the process.

Parker told Township council it’s time the municipality took a “re-look” at the way it parcels out access to playing fields.

A 33-page written brief filed with council by LUSA complains the current field allocation system allows teams with a majority of non-Langley players to claim turf time and permits teams to under-use sought-after artificial turf fields.

Among other things, the brief complains that the smaller LFC will be entitled to claim more turf time because it has just added 173 players, as a result of the recent decision by the  British Columbia Soccer Association (BCSA) to merge the Fraser Valley FC into LFC.

“The majority of those players are not Langley residents,” Parker told council.

The written brief also gives more details about the 16-week suspension of LUSA president Dave Kasper by the BCSA, saying eight weeks of the suspension was “for calling an Aldergrove Youth Soccer Association FV board member a name during a board meeting and repeating the word in an email to [Township] Parks and Rec staff” and five weeks were for behaviour not “in the best interest of the game” that included what the BCSA board called “continuously filing frivolous complaints to the TOL [Township] regarding operations of LFC and their misuse of fields.”

Councillor Charlie Fox said the fighting isn’t good for the kids on the teams.

“I don’t like what’s happening to soccer in this Township,” Fox told Parker.

Other members of council expressed similar concerns during the afternoon session of council earlier the same day.

Councillor Kim Richter said Township staff should investigate the matter and prepare a report.

“There’s something going on here,” Richter said.

Councillor Steve Ferguson said staff have been trying to “referee” the disputes.

“There have been challenges, I’ll say … between the two soccer associations,” Ferguson said.

The LUSA presentation came one week after the LFC went to council to report the merger with the Fraser Valley FC.

An Oct. 17 press release issued by the BCSA said Fraser Valley FC had experienced “significant challenges in accessing field assignments” and had asked the BCSA board for help.

Langley FC Soccer Club president Rob Jandric said the former all-girls club has grown to more than 1,300 — 360 boys and 664 girls plus about 300 players in Langley FC’s men’s and women’s programs.

LUSA, in its written submission to council, said it has 2,300 registered youth players.

— with files from Gary Ahuja

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