Youth soccer teams get year-round playtime in the Sanford Fieldhouse, thanks to a partnership between Sanford Health and Dakota Alliance Soccer Club.
Sanford leadership approached Dakota Alliance and the group became a primary tenant when the facility opened in 2012.
“We found that what Sanford was doing was a perfect fit for what we wanted to do for our membership,” says Frank Gurnick, the club’s director of soccer operations. The group had already been talking about creating more youth soccer opportunities.
“We started to look at the viability of either us partnering with someone to build a larger complex for us to train and have tournaments in, or having it be something we would do on our own,” Gurnick says.
Soccer for kids of all ages
Dakota Alliance offers youth soccer for boys and girls ages 3-19. Using the Sanford Fieldhouse means youth soccer players can practice and train year-round at minimal cost.
“We have access to resources others don’t,” Gurnick says. “By providing these resources to us, Sanford has allowed us to keep our fees to the bare bones.”
The 95- by 65-yard play surface in the Sanford Fieldhouse can be divided into quarters or halves to allow more soccer play. Dakota Alliance averages more than 7,000 youth soccer players for its winter season programming.
Gurnick says the success of the relationship between Sanford and Dakota Alliance is based on the organizations’ shared interests.
“We believe very much in a holistic approach to what we are doing,” he says. “It’s not just trying to create super athletes, but super athletes who will have an impact within the community.”
Winter in the Northern Plains often prevents outdoor activities like soccer. The Sanford Fieldhouse partnership with the Dakota Alliance youth soccer teams provides a healthy alternative.
“What we’re trying to do is instill health and wellness for the long term,” Gurnick says. “I believe Sanford puts as much emphasis on preventive medicine versus someone who has an illness. So our goals are very much in alignment in regards to what we want out of our athletes.”
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