AUGUSTA — There are still items on his wish-list, such as a lighted turf field, but all in all, Ron Yankum is satisfied with what he and a handful of volunteers accomplished a dozen years ago in building a soccer complex in the city.

Today, the Capital Area Soccer Complex continues to serve youngsters from central Maine and throughout the state. The 13-acre complex on the Piggery Road includes three fields, each with scoreboards, a maintainence/concession building, bleachers on the main field, and an all-purpose building housing a press box and locker rooms.

“I was one of the people who spent four years building it,” said Yankum, who recently moved to New Hampshire.

Yankum remains a member of the board of the Capital Area Soccer Club and is the current treasurer, but he’s no longer around to mow fields, take care of maintenance or referee games.

“He has been an integral part of the Capital Area Soccer Club for so many years,” new club president Phil Hubbard said. “To me it’s a huge loss. He’s done a lot of work over the years.”

The complex, which was designed by Steve Roberge, cost $175,000 in actual dollars but when all the volunteer help is factored in, Yankum estimates its worth at $750,000. It’s fully irrigated, which Yankum said “is the best thing we did up there.”

The three-regulation sized fields are often broken down to six fields to accommodate younger teams. Each November, the club hosts a state U11 tournament, which includes 30 teams. It is also home to Cony High School boys and girls teams and hosts the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference playoffs each year.

“The facility is being used now more than ever in the past two or three years,” said Hubbard, who also coaches the Erskine Academy boys team.

Hubbard oversees a high school league each Tuesday and Thursday in the summer that includes teams from Skowhegan, Lawrence, Waterville, Messalonskee, Winslow, Erskine, Cony, Hall-Dale, Gardiner and Mt. Blue. There’s also a junior high league for boys and girls and a freshman league on Friday night.

In the spring and fall, Hubbard and Maranacook boys coach Don Beckwith help run U12 and U13 boys travel teams along with a U14 girls squad. Players on those teams are represented by 11 area towns. Each fall, 200-300 boys and girls participate Saturdays in the Augusta Rec program.

Yankum is the last of a group of original volunteers that included Ralph Stiman, Dave Hastings, Eric Lindquist, Ted Haskell, Don Santere, Darrell Dumont and Roberge. Hastings, who is a summer resident, has returned this month to help out.

Sponsors and volunteers for the project are listed on a plaque on the concession stand. They include Kennebec Savings Bank, which donated $50,000 to the project, the Augusta law firm of Lipman, Katz and McKee and Gardiner contractor Steve McGee, who donated all the heavy equipment used for the project.

“Hopefully, new blood will take over,” Yankum said.

Despite the use this summer, overall participation has declined.

“We would like to see more coaching,” Hubbard said. “We want more teams playing soccer. We know we can get more kids.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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