Socer, er, Futbol

A Football Lockout ... In Wylie?

It's not exactly the same as NFL owners shutting down its $9 billion business, but unless outraged parents in Wylie are successful in lobbying city officials to find their children a suitable venue and ample playing fields there may be no 20011 youth football in this Collin County town next fall.

Should be a charged atmosphere tonight at Wylie City Hall (300 Country Club Road) when the city council meets at 6 p.m. When mayor Eric Hogue asks for citizen input, he'll likely have a line out the door ready to speak about the frustration of local football parents.


Because the Wylie Parks and Recreation Department is scheduled to in June begin a $1.4 million refurbishing of Community Park, long the home of Wylie Youth Football. As the construction is scheduled to run into the fall, the venue is likely to be unavailable. The WFL has petitioned the city council and Wylie's Parks and Recreation Dept. to temporarily relocate to Founders Park.

Problem: The park for years has been designated for soccer only.

The WFL is requesting the use of only four of the 28 fields, but the move isn't considered a slam dunk.

"So far they're giving us some hesitation, like we don't belong there," says Wylie parent Rafael Lavin, who coaches his 6-year-old son, R.J.'s football team. "But then where would we go? We're not asking for special treatment, just a place to play. It'd be a shame if these kids have to miss a season of football."

City of Wylie public services director Mike Sferra, however, counters that some solution will be found and that the football season will salvaged.

"We're not ignoring football and not pushing them around," says Sferra, who adds that the city won't know until late April if the work at Community Park will impact the football season or not. "Their regular season may or may not be interrupted. If it is, we'll certainly work with them to find a place to play. The last thing we want is for them not to have a season and the league organizers have been told that numerous times."

Like the NFL, it may be time for a mediator in Wylie.