Have you ever wandered by the Queens West Field on 5th Street and 47th Avenue, viewed all the men and women having fun playing soccer, and wondered “How do I go about participating in that?” Well we have the answer for you, and it’s really very simple: Long Island City Community Soccer. This organization was founded by Dale Choonoolal in 2008 to play on the Queens West Field, and he has subsequently expanded to Murray Park and sites in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Dale was originally an analyst at Allen & Co. when he spotted the then unused QW field. He applied for a permit and a time slot, formed a meetup community, and now oversees two dozen leagues full time. But the original pickup soccer games in LIC are his first love, especially since he now has a girlfriend in Hunters Point. This Spring, there are two things he’s promoting locally:
- We’ll have Coed Pick up Soccer on Thursday evenings from 6pm to 8pm & Saturdays at 1pm at Queens West Sports field. These pick-up games are co-ed, fun, highly organized, and social. At the end of the games we’ll head for drinks or a much deserved mimosa & brunch. It’s very community oriented and meant for folks from the community to meet each other through the vehicle of soccer.
- Also, this spring for the first time there will be a Soccer league at Queens West Sports Field. We’ll have a Mens league on Saturdays from 10am to 12pm. Here’s my league Website where folks can find info about the league: http://nycsoccer.com/ We’ll be doing a Mens league this Spring and in the near future we’ll do Co-ed leagues.
Dale originally built the LIC group around women’s participation, so as to make the concept as much of a social outing as it is competitive. In addition to drinks and brunches after the games, he has put together a few group outings to places such as Montreal and the ski slopes. He also believes being highly organized is the key to the games being a success, and thus the teams are broken up prior to arrival.
Now, here is where the The Editor comes in with his push. One thing Dale would love to see is lights added to both Queens West Field and the fields on Murray Park. Sure, some would complain about noise coming from the field at night blah, blah, blah. The reality is that the window for working adults to use the field Monday to Friday is very small depending on time of year. On average we are talking about two hours a night(you pick it, 5-7pm, 6-8pm if you work until 5pm and cannot get home in time, zilch in Dec/Jan etc.) By adding lights, one can easily double this utilization and still have everyone long gone by 10pm, the same time that Gantry Park closes. As long as they are already spending so much on upkeep for the field, it is in a prime location, and the immediate area is about to see a more than doubling in population, how about spending a little money and cutting through the red tape to really maximize the fields usage?
Farmers Market Proposed for Hunters Point – a second attempt at this, hopefully w/ the increased population it takes hold. Kind of a chicken or the egg thing, were there too few vendors or people the first time?