When Cathedral City was forced to eliminate its Parks and Recreation Department in 2003 due to budget shortfalls, the family-oriented community was in a quandary. With a population median age of 32 – and one third of those residents younger than 20 – soccer was the name of the game.
Since Cathedral City had only one school soccer field, children had to leave the area to play, join teams in other cities or stop playing due to transportation issues.
Rather than going with that flow, the community found and secured redevelopment funds, grant money and private donations to establish a 17-acre soccer park. The only missing element was a budget to pay for its operation and ongoing maintenance.
Teamwork once again prevailed as Dennis Keat and the Cathedral City Region 1200 of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) committed to maintaining the park on an ongoing basis by volunteering labor and utilizing their own equipment.
Saving the city more than $130,000 annually, that dedication paved the way for the Cathedral City Soccer Park that opened in 2006. After Keat’s passing in March 2010, the park was renamed to honor Region 1200’s leader who relentlessly kept the ball rolling.
The 17-acre Dennis Keat Soccer Park continues to support multiple age groups of youth soccer players. Up to 14 fields can be carved out in a game layout or up to 24 fields in a practice layout. Desert Healthcare District granted the City $350,000 to add a fitness track and purchase equipment for five exercise stations scattered around the park.
While AYSO is the only organization that consistently uses the facility, Dennis Keat Soccer Park also serves as Cathedral City’s site for the United Way of the Desert’s annual Nine Cities Challenge warm-up events to prep Coachella Valley participants for the Palm Springs Aerial Tram Road Challenge 6K held each October.
- Fields – 14 in a game layout, 24 in practice layout
- No fixed seating
- Concession stand, picnic tables & bathroom facilities
- Fitness walking track & 5 exercise stations