May 24, 2017

Webster soccer park underwater after heavy rain

For the second time in 16 months, World Wide Technology Soccer Park prepares for high waters following three days of rain. The Soccer Park is home to St. Louis area soccer club Scott Gallagher, pro-league St. Louis FC and the Webster University men’s and women’s soccer teams.

The soccer park suffered extensive damage after record high flooding in December 2015. Damage included the turf fields, bleachers and water damage to the buildings on the property.

World Wide Technology Soccer Park is facing its second major flood in sixteen months / Photo by Andrew McMunn

World Wide Technology Soccer Park is facing its second major flood in sixteen months / Photo by Andrew McMunn

Webster women’s soccer coach Luigi Scire said the devastation to the park took months to recover from and close to $1 million in losses.

“The bleachers, most of them, were twisted because of the undercurrent,” Scire said. “It just twisted them like an aluminum can; just crushed them. It happened in December [2015] and I think it was the early part of April [2016] was when they are able to reopen the fields and get them active again. So it took about four months to get soccer park up to speed.”

Now the soccer park, along with Webster University’s soccer teams, are preparing for a second blow less than two years later. The St. Louis area was pounded by heavy rainfall April 28-30, resulting in a significant rise in major rivers and creeks.

World Wide Technology Soccer Park is located just feet from the Meramec River, making it prey to flood waters. Forecasting waters are expected to be just a foot shy of the December 2015 record flooding of 44 feet. This puts the soccer park at risk for similar significant damage as seen 16 months ago.

Senior defender Elena Bloma said it is sad to see the soccer park in this state, especially after the recent installation of new turf fields.

“The soccer park is like our second home for Webster soccer because we have built so many great memories there and the countless hours and games held,” Bloma said. “I believe the soccer park being damaged and closed is a huge hurt and upset for the St. Louis soccer community.”

St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club Executive Director Patrick Barry said the park did not have insurance to cover the flood damage to the facility following the December 2015 flood. Steve Siebert of the Scott Gallagher Soccer Club said he did not wish to disclose the current insurance status at this time. But despite extensive flooding, Scire and Webster Athletic Director Scott Kilgallon are choosing to remain optimistic for less damage than in the previous flood.

Scire said this time around, Webster was given a heads up and was able to remove all equipment from the area.

“I think we understood how damaging it could be,” Kilgallon said. “Everybody seems to be a lot more prepared, and just taking anything they can safely to higher ground. I think the last flood took everybody off guard.”

Now, it is a waiting game to see the extent of the damage to the park. Scire said he hopes this weekend, the water will recede and the soccer park can try to get back to normal activities.

“It really all depends on Mother Nature,” Scire said. “If we don’t get anymore rain and it recedes quickly, maybe it won’t be as much as it was last December.”

Additional reporting by Andrew McMunn

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