Kolping Kicks coping with flooded soccer fields

By STEPHEN GLOVER

Like many area soccer clubs, the Kolping Kicks have had to deal with Mother Nature’s floods over the past several months.

In fact, the Kolping Kicks have dealt with two major floods this season as the Meramec River twice has overrun the team’s complex at Meramec Bottom Road and Interstate 55.

Kolping Kicks Treasurer Kevin Byrne said club officials have no real timeline as to when the fields will be back in playing condition.

“Right now, everything is really up in the air,” he said. “We were completely underwater and where we go from here will depend on how fast the water recedes.”

Back in March when the Meramec River crested at roughly 39.5 feet, the fields sustained minimal damage when the waters quickly ascended and descended because the grass still was in its dormant phase from the winter.

“In March, the water went down so fast that you couldn’t even tell that the area was flooded,” Byrne said. “We suffered minimal damage from the flood then.”

But the flooding over the past couple of weeks essentially will destroy most of the grass on the field, which will require the club to reseed the area. The cost of repairing the grass is undetermined until the flood damage can be fully assessed.

“Right now, we have no real clue as to the approximate cost of damage,” Byrne said. “Our costs will be on reseeding the fields and time and you can’t really put a cost on people’s time.”

This isn’t the first time that the club has had to battle the Meramec. In 1993, the river crested at roughly 43.5 feet.

“We’ve only lost our grass once and that was back in 1993,” Byrne said. “At that time, we had about 7.5 feet of water on the back part of our property.”

The Kolping Kicks recently conducted their annual tryouts on the artificial-turf field at Oakville Senior High School. The club fields 20 teams from ages 8-under to 18-under, which totals about 325 players from south county and Jefferson County.

“Oakville really stepped up and let us use their fields for tryouts,” Byrne said. “But for right now, our push is to find open areas where the kids can just kick the ball around. You don’t need an actual soccer field to practice.”

The club also plans to stay at its location on Meramec Bottom Road despite the recent flooding.

“We’ll replant and reseed and go from there,” Byrne said. “We’re not looking to go anywhere.”