City Council approves exclusive park-use deal with Pflugerville's largest youth soccer league

Pflugerville City Council agreed to authorize a 10-year exclusive park-use agreement with the city's largest youth soccer association Nov. 11 in exchange for $35,000 in field improvements and additional per-player fees.

The Pflugerville Area Youth Soccer League and other local youth soccer leagues have strained for years to find space for their practices and games on the limited number of Pflugerville sporting fields, some of which are deteriorating.

Under the agreement PAYSL would get exclusive use of Wells Point Park and Bohls Park for practices, according to the city.

Pflugerville officials said the exclusive-use agreement with PAYSL would not drastically alter the amount of fields available to other youth soccer organizations. PAYSL can also coordinate with other leagues on use of the parks for games.

Furthermore, PAYSL's input of $35,000 for capital improvements would revamp the soccer fields.

"If they have skin in the game, I think they are going to take better care of [the fields]," Pflugerville Mayor Jeff Coleman said about the soccer field maintenance.

The city works with three youth soccer leagues in Pflugerville: PAYSL, Austin Texans Soccer Club and One World. PAYSL has the largest number and percentage of players with Pflugerville addresses in the 78660 zip code.

"PAYSL's resident participants make up 80 percent of the total resident participants in the three soccer leagues that the city works with," said James Hemenes, Pflugerville Parks and Recreation director. The resident participation rate is important because the city uses property taxes to maintain the sports fields, he said.

Coleman said the soccer clubs, particularly PAYSL and the Texans, have disagreed over field use in the past.

Rudy Metayer, speaking on behalf of the Texans, said he was concerned conversations about the exclusivity agreement were not inclusive enough, among other issues.

Metayer also said the Wells Point fields are in desperate need of improvement. He said PAYSL is an institution in Pflugerville and the Texans would work with PAYSL on the use of field space.

Jeff Campbell, CEO of Central Texas Competitive Edge Youth Foundation, which is a youth sports organization, said the city should consider designating fields for different youth sports leagues such as football leagues.

"I'm not here to cast stones at soccer," Campbell said. "I'm here to ask, 'What about football?'"

Coleman said council spoke about bringing youth football into the future sports complex, which voters approved in the last bond election. He said doing so would alleviate some of the financial burden on football leagues.

Under the agreement, PAYSL would increase its per-player fee from $1 per player to $10 per rec-level player and to $15 per select-level player annually, which will help defray the city's maintenance costs, Hemenes said.

The city would continue its current field maintenance, which costs about $75,000 per year.