Tide, Sting forced to relocate for home games

Posted June 19, 2009, at 10:51 p.m.

The Maine Sting of the National Premier Soccer League and the Maine Tide of the Women’s Premier Soccer League have a new home field at Hampden Academy but will play at the Point Lookout Resort in Northport today.

Boucher Field at Husson University in Bangor had been the teams’ home since their inception a year and a half ago.

According to Cheryl Stokes, president of the Atlantic Sports Group that brought the teams to Bangor in 2008, Husson University officials are “having [Boucher] evaluated because they are concerned about overuse. They don’t want the turf to wear out before its time.”

She said she was “disappointed” about the development but understood the rationale.

“We loved being at Husson and we really appreciate the partnership we had with them. It’s a great place to play. But they have more sports using the field and the university is growing. And we don’t want to endanger that in any way. We want to be good stewards in the community,” said Stokes.

Boucher Field is home for the Husson University men’s and women’s soccer teams, and the institution added men’s and women’s varsity lacrosse this spring and those teams also use the field, does the football team for some spring practices.

The two teams will play in Northport today because Hampden Academy’s field is being used for the Nathan Clark Memorial Scholarship and Students Against Destructive Decisions Tournament.

The 0-4-1 Tide will face the 2-3 Bay State Select at 4 p.m. with the 2-2-1 Sting entertaining 4-1 Boston Aztec at 6.

The Tide lost their season opener at Bay State Select 2-1 while the Sting lost their season opener to Boston Aztec 4-1. However, the Tide and Sting had just four days of practice together prior to their openers.

The Tide and Sting each have two home games left after this weekend to be played in Hampden where the teams practiced this week.

Stokes said she did have to fill out a “lot of paperwork” to comply with rules in each league pertaining to moving home venues.

She said she had been hunting for a new home facility for “quite some time” and was able to secure the Hampden Academy field and Point Lookout Resort for comparable rental fees.

They range from $100 to $150 an hour, she said.

The Hampden Academy field, like Boucher Field, has an artificial surface.

“Quite frankly, we wanted to be close to Bangor because they are Bangor teams. And Hampden’s field actually meets minimum standards more than Husson because it has seating for 500 and that’s part of the minimum requirements,” said Stokes.

Other requirements include things like making sure it is a regulation size soccer field (100-130 yards long by 50 to 100 yards wide); a public address system and locker room facilities nearby to accommodate visiting teams.

She said the teams are hoping to collaborate with the business community to build a new outdoor field behind the Sports Arena on the Bangor-Hermon line by next year that would become the new home for the teams.

The teams also practice in the new Field4Kids indoor facility on the Beal College campus in Bangor and she said the rent is significantly cheaper there. They usually practice there when there is poor weather.

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