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PNC Bank & Wave FC Partner on New Soccer Field at Border

The joint venture will help restore the defunct field at Border View Family YMCA to bring back youth leagues and programming to San Ysidro
Border View YMCA's decaying soccer field that is being replaced in partnership with PNC bank and the San Diego Wave soccer team
Courtesy of the YMCA of San Diego County

The Border View Family YMCA has been in San Ysidro for 30 years, and it’s a unique YMCA branch. It has the typical fitness room and gym, but it also does a lot more—offering childcare referrals, feeding programs, vaccinations during Covid and child wellness checks. 

The facility also has a soccer field with an outsized role in the area—it’s a joint use field that’s also used by Montgomery Middle School in the Sweetwater School District. Soccer is very important to the middle schoolers and the surrounding neighborhood. 

Border View YMCA in Chula Vista, San Diego
Courtesy of Border View Family YMCA

Before the pandemic, we were programming it with all sorts of different sports, mostly soccer, adult leagues, kid youth leagues,” says Courtney Cordero, vice president of development for the YMCA of San Diego County. “And then unfortunately, because of the pandemic, we had to close our Border Y. And at that time, too, the field was already kind of on its last leg, kind of pushing up into the pandemic.”

Covid came, and the Border View YMCA was one of the slowest to reopen and when it did in 2021, it had limited hours. Only recently has it returned to five days a week (closed Fridays and Sundays). Unfortunately, due to years of wear and tear paired with rains and flooding, the soccer field remained closed. 

Border View YMCA's decaying soccer field that is being replaced in partnership with PNC bank and the San Diego Wave soccer team
Courtesy of the YMCA of San Diego County

The loss of the field was big for the community, says Dan Cruz, spokesperson for the San Diego County YMCA. He says they run some soccer programs out of the nearby South Bay YMCA, but that doesn’t replace the soccer field at Border View.

“A lot of kids use that field for summer camp, for before and after school programs, things of that nature,” he says. “So it’s got multiple uses versus just being a field. It’s more of a community resource than just a place where there’s soccer.”

Plus, students at Montgomery Middle School also couldn’t use it. A new field was clearly needed. That’s when Alan Prohaska, a board member at the YMCA, saw an opportunity. As regional president at PNC Bank, he worked to fundraise to fix the field. He also reached out to the San Diego Wave FC to partner on the project.

Border View YMCA's decaying soccer field
Courtesy of the YMCA of San Diego County

“They have really been ingraining themselves in the community and looking how they can give back,” Cordero says of PNC. “So they thought how could they partner together to create more opportunities for kids? And really what that meant was them coming together both financially to make a capital donation to our Y. So Alan came to our CEO and said, ‘I have this vision of partnering with the Wave to make some fields in the community so that we can promote early childhood education as well as our positive youth development and engage kids in sports.’ So I think their vision is bigger that they would like to do this, they would like to see more in the future. But the first is starting with us at the Border Y.”

Prohaska says the idea was to do more than just give money.

“We’re always thinking about how we give back in a way that’s very meaningful and tangible,” he says. “And one thing we’ve really wrapped ourselves around is sport, especially youth sports. And soccer is at the head of that. It’s just the most widely played sport, from the border to Oceanside. And so we wanted to give something back to a community that was more permanent, more so than just a donation to a nonprofit to partially fund a program or something like that.”

The Border View YMCA's soccer field's broken scoreboard
Courtesy of the YMCA of San Diego County

When he heard about the work needed on the field at the Border View Y, which is technically called a futsal field because it’s fenced and smaller than a regulation soccer field, he knew it would be the right project. 

The field is turf, which typically has a 10-year lifespan, and had become lumpy and was shredding, turning into a tripping hazard. Also, the scoreboard was broken. The field had been closed for 18 months at that point, and its closure was having a big impact on the community.

“It was a really perfect opportunity for us to invest some money into the physical rehab of something that not just goes back to the YMCA and all of their members and kids that go there, but also the community, because it’s available to them and the middle school, so the kids could use it at lunch or on their PE break,” he says.

Courtesy of the YMCA of San Diego County

The project is already underway and will last about four weeks. The Wave is contributing a new scoreboard and bleachers.

“It hits all of these major pillars or targets that we’re all trying to do from giving back to the community standpoint,” Prohaska says. “And so it was kind of a no brainer call on the Wave’s part to get involved.”

Cordero with the Y says she hopes this project isn’t the end of rehabilitation at Border View YMCA. 

“We’re currently fundraising to get that pool open,” she says. “It’s really exciting to see it come back and start the programming. It’s way more than just a gym and programs. It’s a community center.”

Plans for the reopening of the soccer field are slated for late April.

By Claire Trageser

Claire Trageser has been writing for San Diego Magazine for 10 years. She also is a reporter at KPBS and writes for The New York Times, National Geographic, Marie Claire, Elle and Runner's World.

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