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Copyright 2017 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)


No one can accuse Ria De Kruyf of failing to dream big. Real big. Like to the tune of $3 million to $5 million big.

De Kruyf, the new athletic director at Tierra Encantada charter school and former girls soccer coach at Capital High School, wants to build a facility large enough to house two full-size soccer fields — about 185 feet by 85 feet — as well as a smaller, youth field.

"That is my dream and always has been," she said.

When coaching the lady Jaguars, it was difficult to find practice space, De Kruyf said, especially during exceptionally hot or inclement weather.

"We barely had any space to practice on or to play on," she said. "Every building is occupied for basketball and volleyball. I personally like indoor very much."

She said she needs about five acres, preferably on the south of Santa Fe, outside the city limits, to properly house the 48,000-square-foot facility.

De Kruyf has already been in contact with Pinnacle Indoor Sports, a Prescott, Ariz.-based company that specializes in such buildings, and has determined that costs would be between $3 million and $5 million. That doesn't factor in cost for land, which she is hoping to have donated.

As a matter of fact, De Kruyf is looking to have the entire project develop through a grassroots fundraising effort.

"I've been planning on doing a business plan, but I haven't had the time yet," she said. "The company that builds the indoor pavilions (Pinnacle) does them, but they wanted more than $8,000. I've met with community leaders, the president of the outdoor soccer league, lobbyists and other people who are influential at some point."

De Kruyf knows it's going take a mighty effort from the community to get the project rolling and is hoping that a small start will snowball toward reality.

"I'm hoping to get momentum," she said. "People are waiting to see what's happening. I would love to have people on board helping with the fundraising, connecting out to the community."

The grassroots effort could take as much as three to five years, but De Kruyf said she's determined to see it through.

"I started a website," she said ( "Hopefully that will really get people started thinking of or donating. It's all to an account, at Century Bank. Hopefully we can get into some people who really want to start fundraising."

With grass at a premium and turf tough to find, the facility she envisions could be used around the clock in all seasons for soccer as well as other sports like lacrosse, rugby and field hockey.

"We need more facilities, especially indoor," De Kruyf said, noting efforts to build additional outdoor fields in the city have been stalled for years. "All the fields in Santa Fe are always occupied. It's always overbooked. I want to get those kids running. I want to get adult leagues in there. Get that thing going nonstop."

The desire is there in the community for just such a facility, she said.

"One of the reasons I'm so passionate about it is I see kids jumping fences just to play soccer on fields," De Kruyf said. "These kids have to play and it's a constant fight over a place to play."

So one way or another, she's determined to make this happen.

"I am not in a hurry," De Kruyf said. "But it is my passion."

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May 19, 2017


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