TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
In this May 2010 photo, a boys' under-10 game is played on a field at Optimist Soccer Park. With the complex once again flooded this spring, games are being played on fields throughout the city.
Amy Olson admits getting her three children to and from youth soccer in the city can be somewhat of a tightrope-walking routine at times.
Olson has two children who play soccer on different fields in Brandon on Tuesday and Thursday nights, plus a 19-month-old toddler.
On those nights, Olson, who lives in Kemnay, packs up the three children and their soccer gear to drive to Brandon. Their trip starts with a detour as Highway 1A is under repair and gets more adventurous from there.
Once in the city, she meets her husband, who is just getting off work and is the assistant coach of their oldest boy’s club.
Olson brings her husband, Eric, a change of clothes and supper and he quickly changes in the back of the couple’s van before she takes the toddler and Jordyn, 4, to her game at Meadows School, while Eric takes Ethan, 6, to play at J.R. Reid School.
"My husband is pretty much getting naked in the back of the van and then trying to quickly eat on his way to the field," Olson joked. "It’s quite the shuffle and it’s challenging, but it is what it is and we knew signing both kids up for soccer that it was probably going to be different fields."
Following the game, the family meets again, when the children are shuffled back into the van with Olson using the truck to stay behind to work evenings in Brandon.
Needless to say, she’s in favour of the city looking at building a soccer park large enough, and dry enough after Optimist Park was flooded out again this year, that the whole family could play in one area.
"I would love that," she said. "I know Ethan misses me not being able to watch him because we only get to watch maybe the last five minutes of his game."
A plan to build soccer fields northeast of Assiniboine Community College’s North Hill campus is one Olson believes almost every soccer player or family of a player would support.
"I know other families have to shuffle quite a bit, too, whether it’s different nights or different fields," she said, adding they have grandparents in the area who can help with the complicated logistics, but that other families aren’t so lucky.
Olson, who played on many of the same fields that her children are playing on today, said a new park would save some of the wear and tear on school fields, too.
While most of the fields are in good shape, she said, some are starting to show the effects of being utilized to the maximum.
"Last year we were at Valleyview (Centennial School) and the grass was so worn down that they might as well been playing in dirt," Olson said.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 7, 2014