NAUGATUCK — The start of Naugatuck Youth Soccer’s fall recreational season may be delayed and the season may be altered due to an apparent theft of the organization’s property.
Portions of aluminum frames on 10 soccer goal posts are nowhere to be found.
“Two weeks ago, we started putting the goals together and couldn’t find the uprights for several of the Kwick Goals,” said Roger Simoes, an NYS coach who handles purchasing for the organization. “We assumed the town took them so they could cut the grass, but they said they didn’t move them.”
The goal posts were laid in pieces behind baseball dugouts at Breen and Rotary fields on Hotchkiss Street. NYS did not use the goals all summer because the borough’s Parks and Recreation Department wanted to give the fields a rest, so NYS did not schedule games in Naugatuck.
Simoes said bolts were removed to take the aluminum pieces apart. Without the missing pieces, the goals will not stand up.
Simoes said the last thing he wants to believe is that someone stole them. There is not much value in trading aluminum for money at a scrap yard and, therefore, it is not targeted by thieves as much as copper.
In his five years as a coach in the league, Simoes has never encountered this problem.
“At this point, we’re kind of at a loss,” he said. “We’re hoping it’s just a misunderstanding, and that by getting the word out, we can hopefully get them back.”
There are about 200 children ages 5 to 14 who are registered to play fall soccer for NYS. Games are supposed to start on Sept. 12, Simoes said.
He was taking inventory and exploring options Sunday night. He said it’s possible the organization will have to buy 10 new goals if they cannot get replacement parts. Each goal would cost between $1,500 to $2,500, he said.
“It would be a humungous hit to the organization,” he said. “We will find a way to do something, like moving goals around and using pop up, temporary goals. Whatever it’s going to take, we’re going to make sure the kids have a goal to play with; they will play soccer.”
He said the organization has filed a police report to document what they are missing.
Parent Mary Pereira, whose two daughters play youth soccer here, said she is disappointed for the children.
“It’s especially disappointing because in Naugatuck, soccer is such a big sport and so well received that we have a lot of kids participating,” she said. “It’s a shame, although I’m sure the parents on our team would be willing to do fundraisers and whatever needs to be done to make sure these kids play.”