CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. -- A popular youth soccer club is suspended for ten days from playing at Cabarrus County parks.
The suspension is a result of beer bottles found at Frank Liske Park in Concord after the Football Club Carolina Alliance hosted a tournament there in November.
"We're new, mistakes were made,” said Football Club Carolina Alliance President Paul Haddad, speaking before Cabarrus County commissioners on Monday.
Haddad says a parent of a child playing in the tournament admitted he brought the beer.
A park ranger cleaning up after the games found empty beer bottles in the garbage and full beer bottles in a cooler in a room near the park’s concession stand. Alcohol is illegal at Cabarrus County parks.
"We can pay a fine up to a thousand dollars, whatever it is, or community service,” Haddad asked commissioners. “We're prepared to do that, lessons learned."
Commissioners said no to a fine, but yes to a 10-day suspension. The suspension was originally 30 days, but reduced.
Haddad says the suspension affects about 46 weekend games and is forcing the club to reschedule them at different locations.
"Simply ask that you reconsider for the youth of soccer in the community,” Haddad said.
The county also claims the soccer club violated another ordinance on at least three occasions, when adults played on fields strictly meant for children.
The county spent at least $150,000 making those fields nice. When adults playing on them, it tears them up, officials say.
"The wear and tear on the fields was causing a big problem and an expensive problem for us to continue to maintain those fields at a championship level,” said Cabarrus County Manager Mike Downs.
Commissioners decided not to punish the club for the field use.
Some commissioners opposed the alcohol suspension, saying a parent's actions shouldn't impact innocent kids who were just there to play soccer.
The club says changes have been made and it won't happen again.
"We want to promote a safe and playable environment for everybody according to the rules and regulations, and they apply to us also,” said Haddad.
The suspension runs February 18 through 28.
The club has about 1,200 members and included families from Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Rowan Counties.