MARQUETTE- The Kaufman Sports Complex along Hawley Street in Marquette is home to many local soccer events throughout the year, but as of now the fields can't be used.
According to Marquette City Parks and Recreation Department coordinator Andrew MacIver, the city can not grant access to the fields due to the extreme weather conditions this year.
"We're worried about damage to (the fields)," MacIver said. "We're also worried that any possible chance that if the ground is still frozen that somebody might get hurt out there and our number one concern is making sure that everyone is safe.
Marquette’s Kaufman Sports Complex soccer fields are closed due to do unfavorable conditions.
According to the city, the fields are unsafe to play on and could be damaged even further, preventing future use. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
"Extreme weather has forced us to make sure that people stay off the fields to make sure that the facilities can be maintained for the future as well as the safety of the public."
The decision to open up the fields for use is being handled on a day-to-day basis, MacIver said. He has been in contact with the groups that are using the Kaufman fields and giving them updates on the conditions.
One of those groups is the Superiorland Soccer Association, which will have 113 recreational teams this year. The youngest divisions, U-4 and U-6, are scheduled to start May 12 behind the Cherry Creek Elementary School. All other divisions are scheduled to start May 19 at the Kaufman fields.
"We are still planning to start our season as scheduled, in hope that the weather will cooperate soon," said Jennifer Clause, vice president of Superiorland Soccer Association. "We may have to reschedule a few games if it doesn't, depending on field availability.
"We appreciate all that the city is doing to open the facilities as soon as they can and will work with them on scheduling issues, if necessary."
The Marquette Senior High School girls soccer season is currently in full swing, but because of the conditions of the Kaufman fields, a few games have been cancelled while others were played at the Superior Dome, said MSHS athletic coordinator Jamie Tuma.
"It has been frustrating for us because the girls are so eager to get out and play, but we see the value in staying off the fields," Tuma said.
MSHS is running out of time to get a game in on its home pitch with the Upper Peninsula high school girls soccer season typically wrapping up by May 17.
"When you see an open field, just because the snow is gone, it doesn't mean that it's ready to be played on," Tuma said. "I just think that people have to remember that you could damage it and in the long run that's not really going to help the field and could put you backwards and end up with poor field conditions in the summer."
The city is asking the public to stay off the Kaufman soccer fields.
"We will make the call and broadcast that to everyone any way possible," MacIver said. "It'll be day to day on when that will happen and it will probably take just some generally better weather to see that come through."