Players and volunteers from the Sooke Soccer Club are selling Christmas trees to raise funds for an all-weather soccer field.

Fundraising for a new soccer field

Sooke soccer players need a new all-weather turf field

What Christmas would be complete without a live, fragrant, needle-dropping tree? And it happens you can pick one up from the Sooke Soccer Club right at Fred Milne Park during the month of December.

Players, parents and volunteers will be taking turns doing four-hour shifts selling 250 Island-farmed, pesticide-free trees, ranging in size from five-feet for $28 to 12-feet for $102, until they run out. All the money raised is going towards an ongoing major project, said Sooke Pumas captain Lindsay Jenkins.

“We’re trying to build a turf field — so it’s an all-weather field — because several of our games get cancelled in the year because we’ve got poor drainage. It rains too much here,” she said, laughing.

Three of the Celtic men’s team’s back-to-back home games were postponed last month because of frozen, and flooded conditions, respectively.

“It’s really tough, we miss out on a lot of games. Not just the adults, the youth too,” said Jenkins, who added an artificial surface would be useful for other things besides just soccer.

This is the third year the club has done a tree sale, which is the main fundraising effort of the year. Previously, there were other efforts as well like beer gardens at games, 50/50 draws and a banquet. But everything was handled by Jenkins and another Puma, Jen Royer-Collard, and it became too much, so they are looking for anyone willing to come on board to organize events.

The cost to bring a turf field to Sooke is somewhere between $800,000 and $1,000,000, which includes the cost of labour. So far, they’ve collected about $15,000.

“I know the government subsidizes parts of it, so if you can raise a certain amount they’ll give you (some) back. And a lot of the other associations have gotten corporate sponsors and stuff, so we’re kind of hoping and looking for something like that as well.”

The location of a prospective spot has yet to be determined. She said it would be nice if it were located at Fred Milne Park since the soccer clubhouse is there, but for now the main focus is to come up with the funds.

People can stop by the park to pick up a tree Monday to Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In the first week of January, Jenkins said the Sooke Soccer Club is also trying to set up a tree chipping and bottle drive.

“It’ll be by donation, $5 or whatever you want to pay to get rid of your tree.”

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