CORPUS CHRISTI - Two weeks from tonight, on June 10, World Cup excitement begins at Whataburger Field as the two-time MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo tangle with the Laredo Heat. Kickoff is 7:00 p.m. on the eve of soccer's global showcase.
As part of the build-up to the first ever match south of San Antonio to feature an MLS team, officials from Stripes and Ryan-Sanders Baseball announced Thursday the three finalists for the first Stripes-Corpus Christi Hooks Soccer Field of Dreams.
The finalists are:
- City of Portland Parks & Recreation/Gregory-Portland Soccer Association
- Gulf Coast Soccer Club
- Padre Soccer League
Approximately 10,000 square feet of TifSport Bermuda 419 sod will be donated by Stripes and Ryan-Sanders to one of the three organizations for a field makeover, with an assist from King Ranch Turfgrass. In addition to the turf, Stripes and Ryan-Sanders will look for ways to meet other equipment needs or requests from the winning organization.
Officials from Stripes and the Hooks will undertake site visits next week with the winner announced at halftime of the Dynamo-Heat match. In all, Ryan-Sanders received 10 applications from area youth soccer entities. The deadline was May 13.
"We had solid applications from all over the area," Hooks president Ken Schrom said. "The applicants were very thorough in conveying to us what their needs are. I want to express the appreciation of Ryan-Sanders Baseball for each of those who took the time to respond. It's encouraging to know our young people have strong support.
"The three finalists make up a diverse group. It will be exciting to get out in the community and evaluate their playing surfaces. The gift of sod should be a perpetual gift as young players enjoy their field for years to come," said Schrom.
"We have an opportunity with this program to impact the lives of youths in our community, and that is something which Stripes has always been proud to do," said Steve DeSutter, Stripes president and CEO. "Playing Sports teaches our kids so many good life lessons, and investing in ways to improve that experience for the kids in one of these local organizations is just another way Stripes can give back to the community."
The Stripes-Hooks Soccer Field of Dreams is patterned after the Hooks Field of Dreams program, which provides for the construction or renovation/renewal of Coastal Bend youth baseball and softball fields. Robstown Little League and the Corpus Christi Miracle League were the first two beneficiaries.
Stripes and the Hooks have been partners since Whataburger Field opened in 2005. The Stripes Diamond is a regulation youth baseball field located just beyond the batter's eye in center field. Local and regional teams compete on the field before Hooks games each evening. In 2009, 70 teams from 15 different leagues utilized the facility. Coastal Bend teams with players 12-and-under are eligible at no cost.
Since 2006, 362 teams have enjoyed the use of Stripes Diamond.
Corpus Christi, Texas-based Susser Holdings Corporation is a third-generation family led business that operates more than 525 convenience stores in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma primarily under the Stripes and Town & Country banners. Restaurant service is available in more than 300 of its stores, primarily under the proprietary Laredo Taco Company and Country Cookin' brands. The Company also supplies branded motor fuel to approximately 390 independent dealers through its wholesale fuel division. For further information about Stripes, please visit www.stripescorp.com.
Corpus Christi Hooks Baseball is in its sixth season. The Hooks are members of the eight-team Texas League and Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. Reid Ryan, oldest son of baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, is founder and CEO of the Hooks and Round Rock Express. Hooks Help was established in 2006 to positively impact Coastal Bend citizens. It revolves around the desire to serve through youth-, education and charity-related initiatives.