"It's a great facility," said John Warnlof, a former Mustang board director. "The soccer complex is really something special. There is nothing else like it in Northern California."
The complex contains two lighted artificial turf fields, a warm-up area and a 4,200-square-foot field house, which will be headquarters for the league starting next month. The Mustang Soccer League, a nonprofit group that provides soccer for children from ages 5 to 18 in the San Ramon Valley, currently has its offices in the Town and Country Shopping Center.
The artificial turf is 60 percent ground rubber and 40 percent sand, which makes it softer for players, said Mustang officials.
"We don't have to worry about sprinkling systems," said Dwight Maloney, soccer coach and secretary of Tassajara Soccer Complex Inc., which is in charge of the center's development.
The galvanized steel fences in vinyl surround the fields, with young shade trees and grass planted between the two turfs. The complex also has plants that are drought resistant, 180 parking spaces and areas for horse trailers.
The two-story field house is made of wood-frame stucco and will have office spaces, meeting rooms, men's and women's restrooms, a patio and a concession area. The building will be used for coaching courses and referee training. The patio will be used for picnics.
Thousands of players from Danville, Alamo, Diablo, Blackhawk, San Ramon, Walnut Creek and Pleasanton participate in Mustang Soccer, which was formed in 1972.
"Mustang soccer is one of the best soccer leagues in Northern California if not the U.S.," Warnof said, noting that college coaches keep an eye on its players for scholarships.
Shapell Homes, Ponderosa Homes and Braddock & Logan Homes proposed building two all-weather soccer fields in the late 1990s when they were planning their developments in the Tassajara Valley, in the middle of Mustang territory. League officials jumped at the chance to relieve the continual shortage of fields for its teams.
"Fields are such in short supply," Maloney said.
He said there are approximately 32 fields for soccer in the area but they are often occupied by other teams.
Shapell took the lead in building the fields and formed an agreement with Mustang Soccer League stating it would have exclusive rights over them.
Mustang officials worked with the county to get the project approved, he said, and they expected the complex to be finished by early summer 2007 but it had delays. Warnof recalled the permit and planning processes were lengthy, and the project had to install a fire hydrant in order go forward. Dealing with issues regarding public works and water cost more time.
"There are always delays," he said, adding that the complex was just one of several projects in the county planner's docket.
Mustang finally got its fields' conditional permit from the county, and construction began last year.
Shapell donated the land. The builder developed the turf fields and spent around $100,000 to $200,000 on drainage and paid $800,000 to grade the area, which was on a ridgeline.
Additionally, each of the three developers contributed $100,000 to give to Mustang for site improvements.
"It's been great working with them," said Warnof.
The fields were substantially completed by January 2007 and players had limited use of them in April.
"I really like it," said Kelsey Chelsae, Mustang Soccer player and junior at San Ramon Valley High School. "It gives us more places to play."
Mustang Soccer used $600,000 in savings and raised $150,000 from the community to pay for parking, irrigation, landscaping and lighting. The donors' names will be engraved on bricks on a 16-foot soccer ball outside the entrance or on plaques attached to the field house wall, Maloney said. He noted that Holy Names University has used the complex already, and Mustang may share its fields with other sports teams if needed.
"I think this facility will give them many positive memories of their soccer experiences," Warnoff said.
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