For years, Jerry Boisvert — the man who built and maintained the fields at the Warrenton Soccer Complex — could be seen there almost daily, erecting fence, mending nets, lining the fields, mowing grass, clearing weeds and chasing moles.
Boisvert’s devotion to soccer extended beyond coaching, refereeing and creating a fun atmosphere for children with Camp Kick-A-Lot. His attention to the maintenance of the playing fields was remarkable.
The Soccer Complex boasts four fields, parking lots, concession stands and a playground, much of it driven by Boisvert’s passion.
Boisvert died earlier this year. In his honor, the Lower Columbia Youth Soccer Association (LCYSA) is naming the west field after him, and the best coach will receive the Jerry Boisvert Coach of the Year Award. A sign and ceremony will be held at the field in the fall.
“We are now realizing how much Jerry did,” said Fergus Loughran, president of LCYSA, as the association restructures to replace Boisvert and compartmentalize tasks, so no one burns out. “We want to spread the load of field maintenance and upkeep.”
A blessing and a curse
Volunteers have stepped up for the summer mowing and weed eating, but there will be a big need in the fall when students return to college, people are working and days are shorter, Loughran said. There will be a great need to line the fields for soccer games.
“The facility looks fantastic, and I think John Whisler, Tim Fastabend and I feel a duty to make sure the program keeps going and the facility remains the way Jerry had it,” Loughran said. Each man has been involved for years with LCYSA and seen their children play in high school and beyond.
“It’s a blessing and a curse. You can’t turn your back on maintenance or it will overtake you,” Loughran said.
Begun in 1984, the association formed as a nonprofit, run entirely by volunteers to serve youth in Clatsop County and Pacific County, Washington. A few years later, Warrenton allowed LCYSA to develop a soccer field on the clay-capped former dump along Ridge Road.
“It is great to go to the soccer complex early on a Saturday and see it fill up and swell with people having a good time,” association Vice President Derith Andrew said.
“I like that it’s not too competitive, but it teaches sportsmanship and having fun. Kids are taught to be nice to the coaches and referees. It’s not about which team won.”
Each year, the association serves around 600 kids from the two counties. Boisvert’s motto was: “It’s all about the kids.” More than collecting money, he wanted to make sure the kids were playing and learning about soccer, Loughran said.
There is the fall recreation league, a classic league (for more experienced players) and Camp-Kick-A-Lot in the summer for kids in grade school. Adult leagues also use the fields. And now there is a playground.
“I like that it is so much about the kids. We preach it and keep it affordable,” Andrew said. There are scholarships available, so everyone can play.
Charitable contributions and gifts poured in after Boisvert’s memorial, Loughran said. With matching funds from Pacific Coast Seafoods, LCYSA was able to buy a new Gator riding mower and start a scholarship fund.
But there is always a need for sponsors and volunteers to help with mending nets, mowing, lining the fields, maintenance, refereeing and coaching. “If you have a skill, let us know,” Loughran said. Contact LCYSA through the website lcysasoccer.com.
“Bogh Electric, Nygaard Logging, Pacific Seafoods, Big River and many others have been big contributors,” Loughran said. Sponsors receive advertising along the fences of the fields.
People have stepped up to serve on the board. “Everyone involved is selfless, fun, caring and giving,” Andrew said.
Referee coordinator Molly Albright said she loves that LCYSA serves almost everyone. It’s enjoyable because parents come together for carpooling and exchanging equipment. Referees 14 and older can be paid.
“It’s a great first job, and I give good references,” Albright said.
Some Astoria kids are returning as young adults to help the organization that was a focus throughout their youth and high school years, Loughran said. Rory and Liam Loughran, Phil Gaffney, Angelo Schauermann and Brooke (Duling) Stanley (my daughter) are involved, donating time, sweat and expertise.
“It’s a big achievement to get kids back,” Loughran said. Still, more community involvement would be helpful.
“We are so fortunate to have this facility,” Whisler said. “It gives all kids an opportunity.”