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Soccer club secures land for complex

POSTED: May 25, 2011 4:00 a.m.

If all goes as planned, about 15 acres in southern Dawson County will become home to a new soccer complex later this summer.

Anton Sieber, director of Dawson County United Soccer Club, said Monday the complex will be built in phases with construction beginning in July.

He anticipates the fields will be ready for play in August.

The preliminary site plan shows 10 soccer fields, picnic tables, a pond and parking lot on about 15.7 acres leased near Rock Creek Park.

Earlier this year, the park system cut ties with Dawson County United, which had overseen the park's soccer activities since 2007, over failed negotiations.

At the time, Sieber said he was blindsided by the park board's decision to go with another soccer club.

Dozens of parents protested and signed petitions, hoping to fight the change. Sieber vowed the club would continue offering soccer in the county.

He said he could not have imagined the outpouring of support the club received during the transition and hunt for new fields.

"The support from not only people in this organization but local businesses ... has been overwhelming, from landscapers, engineers and contractors who have volunteered their time and services to make sure we don't go anywhere," Sieber said.

He said the support has created a renewed energy in the club.

Earlier this month, Dawson County United announced a merger with Lanier Soccer Association in neighboring Hall County to strengthen the club's reach in the soccer community.

"We've had a relationship with them for the last four years. I've always leaned to them for advice," Sieber said.

"We see this as a great opportunity to offer our local community an even stronger program with greater infrastructure."

Sieber said the partnership will be a seamless and positive step in growing the program in Dawson County.

Aside from a new logo, the biggest changes players likely will see as a result of the merger will involve scheduling.

"The program will allow us to restrict travel for our interleague games in each age group," Sieber said.

Interleague home games will be at the Dawson County complex, and away games will be at Allen Creek Park, about 30 miles away in Gainesville.

Sieber said the core of the program will still be managed by the same community members.

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