By Chris Mellides
The Northport Cow Harbor United Soccer Club was looking forward to hosting its first game of the season last Saturday at the Northport Soccer Park, but the game was canceled after vehicles churned out $10,000 in damage turning circles on the turf.
Jennifer McGraw, a director at the Northport Cow Harbor Soccer Club, said a lot of the young players were disappointed about the state of their field and the cancellation and, in some cases, relocation of more than 15 games this season.
“Everybody is really, really upset because it was the opening season for soccer,” McGraw said. “It brought our soccer season to a screeching hault.”
David Bozett, president of the Northport Cow Harbor Club, said that the incident is unlike anything he’s ever seen.
“Those fields are the centerpiece of our soccer club,” Bozett said. “The vandalism that occurred is something that really hasn’t happened before. It certainly raises our awareness for securing the area for future events of this kind just because of the recklessness that was done.”
Bozett said at least two sets of tire tracks were identified on the field.
“Because of the rain the night before the turf was terribly soft and whatever vehicles they were using were probably low-riding vehicles,” Bozett said. “They tore up paths in about half of the fields, but then drove around the rest of it with less damage, but they certainly left a mark.”
Bozett said soccer clubs and leagues across the Island have already donated $6,000 to offset the cost to rebuild the turf on the privately owned soccer field through the Long Island Junior Soccer League.
Additionally, other soccer clubs in the area are allowing Northport Cow Harbor to use their fields for make-up games that were due to be played at Northport Soccer Park.
“It shows the strength of the soccer community,” Bozett said. “But also I think it shows that this is an important part of the Long Island sports community in terms of the amount of teams and players that play junior soccer.”
Despite all that his club has received in donations and support, Bozett said the park will not likely be to open before the start of next spring.
Police say that they have yet to identify those people responsible, but that anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.