Tips sought after vandals destroy youth soccer league field: ‘Kids can’t play on it at all’

Local

RAMONA, Calif. — Vandals have put the Ramona Soccer League season in limbo after destroying their main soccer field late last week, league officials said Monday.

“Kids can’t play on it at all,” said Tommy Perfect, a league board member. “It’ll just be unsafe.”

Perfect said vandals drove all over the field doing doughnuts last Thursday night. Then, he says they returned the following night and left even more destruction in their wake.

The nonprofit youth sports organization now is soliciting tips about the incidents and working with local authorities to determine who destroyed the field. They’re also accepting donations to help with applicable repairs.

“Somebody just wanted to take a joyride – thought they were having fun, thought they were being cool,” Perfect said. “But really, all they’re doing is hurting kids and families.”

According to Perfect, it appeared a truck or SUV was responsible for driving on the field, chewing up the grass and taking out large chunks of sod. Several teams helped to fill in holes over the weekend, but groundkeeper Ernie Filla says a lot more work will be needed to return it to proper playing condition.

“You gotta seed, you gotta bring in topsoil — be a while before it’s going,” Filla said. “I haven’t even checked the irrigation yet to see if any of that’s broken. It was a nightmare. You work hard trying to get everything done for all the kids and somebody else comes and tears it up.”

Repairs to the field are expected to cost thousands of dollars, Perfect said.

“How it goes with nonprofits is there’s never really funds to handle vandalism and extra damage,” he said. “We try to keep our fees as low as we can for the players to have an accessible sport to come out and enjoy and benefit our community.”

Perfect says the league will have to find another field for teams to play on the rest of the season. They’re hoping someone will come forward with information about the vandalism.

“It’s a small town – and word travels fast,” he said.

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