The West Springfield Youth Soccer Club is just over one month away from their next season at the River's Edge Sports Park.
Club organizers said they are now faced with the challenge of replacing protective nets that have been stolen in the past few weeks.
When standing, there is a shorter net, as well as a taller screen both situated behind the goal.
The club said the nets serve dual purposes, protecting soccer balls from being kicked into the river, but more importantly stopping kids from wandering into the poison ivy that lines the steep river bank.
With nearly 300 kids, from age 7 to 14, that take part in the club, the board said authorities have been quick to respond.
"Ironically, the chief of police has his two daughters that play on this team," said Lincoln Armstrong, a board member of the club. "We have many policemen who have their sons and daughters in our club. They're responding very quickly. They've been really supportive and they're already stepping up the patrol down in this area."
The soccer club told CBS 3 that they will look to replace the stolen netting, but it will cost several thousand dollars to do so, which they said is a big price tag for their non-profit group.
On top of that, they believe some changes may be necessary.
"Putting the same netting back might not be an option, because they could steal it," said Mark Salamon, another board member of the club. "We may have to step it up and get a chain link fence, which is three to four times the cost. Most of the work we've done ourselves, it's all volunteers. It's very labor intensive when you start digging and putting up fences, it's beyond our capability."
The club initially signed a three year lease with the city two years ago to use the land.
They believe they will be extending that lease in the near future.
For more information on the West Springfield Youth Soccer Club, you can visit their website at www.wsysc.com or their Facebook page.
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