Friends of Vernon Park addresses Soccer Sisters United story

In the wake of Thursday’s article about the theft of Soccer Sisters United’s goal theft, Friends of Vernon Park President Ruth Seeley took exception to the thought that the program originally faced opposition from her group.

Here’s what she emailed NewsWorks in response:

“In March of 2013 we invited Walter Stewart, Soccer Sisters Coach, to our regular meeting to discuss the use of what had once been a baseball field for girls soccer.

“We invited Philadelphia Parks and Recreation staff because PPR owns the park, has ultimate responsibility for its maintenance and issues permits for its use. PPR staff explained the history of Vernon Park as a ‘passive’ park, that is one that has no recreation center or facilities (including bathrooms) and no staffed athletic or other programs.

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“They noted that the use of other parks for soccer had led to the complete destruction of the grass where adults had overused the space and reduced the pitch to mud.

“The Friends of Vernon Park members present asked questions of both Walter Stewart and PPR staff. They understood that the space is too small for a full size soccer field and were very happy to have a girls’ soccer program using it, particularly as most of the players are from the surrounding neighborhood.

“FOVP endorsed the Soccer Sisters use of Vernon Park, and Soccer Sisters received a PPR permit.

“Since that time, Walter Stewart and many of the parents and girls in his program have participated in FOVP events and have contributed to clean-ups. I would characterize our ongoing relationship since that time as very positive and mutually supportive.”

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