A run-down house that's now storage for shovels will soon be a bustling clubhouse for the largest youth soccer group in Southern Arizona.
Tucson Soccer Academy signed a no-cost 20-year lease with Pima County to fix up and use the Young House at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park.
The nonprofit youth soccer league plans to open the remodeled facility by next fall.
"We're going to spend at least $100,000 in renovating it and making it into a clubhouse for kids who play soccer, a place where they can do homework while they're waiting for practice, where they can have team meetings," said Ted Schmidt, president of the Tucson Soccer Academy.
It'll also have a workout room with equipment that could cost up to $60,000, a TV for watching game tape, offices and meeting rooms. Throw in desks, filing cabinets, computers and other needs and the final price tag will approach $200,000, Schmidt said.
Fenton Park is sort of like home field for the academy, which has played games and practices there for years.
Coaches and parents noticed the Young House wasn't being used, and the club's 1,000 kids needed their own place, Schmidt said.
Jon Fenton, who raised money for the park along the Rillito and named it in honor of his daughter, Brandi, helped get the ball rolling, Schmidt said.
Fenton will be the project manager, and he has found several local contractors to donate their time to the project, including some who are soccer team coaches.
Schmidt's wife, Ann, was active with the academy before she died of breast cancer almost two years ago, so he got involved to honor her.
Ann Schmidt was a Tucson Soccer Academy manager for eight years. Even after being diagnosed with what turned out to be terminal breast cancer in 2005, and going through its debilitating treatment, she maintained her enthusiasm and positive attitude, and continued to manage her team right up to the time of her death on her birthday on Jan. 3, 2011.
The building will be named the Ann Kathryn Schmidt Kickin' It Clubhouse.
Schmidt said it's "a marvelous example of partnership between the private sector and the county."
The academy is launching a capital campaign to raise the $200,000 to pay for the remodeling and new equipment. To help with a tax-deductible donation, mail a check to the Tucson Soccer Academy Clubhouse, 1790 E. River Road, Suite 300, Tucson, AZ 85718.
Did you know
The soccer fields at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park were once pastures in the Binghampton Mormon farming settlement in the late 1800s.
Source: Linda Mayro, Pima County cultural resources manager
Contact reporter Becky Pallack at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.