Las Vegas officials attempt to deflate soccer field scheduling controversy

The Great Las Vegas Soccer Summit is over, and it ended with the city getting a bigger slice of revenue from tournaments on municipal pitches.

On Tuesday, city officials met with leaders of the Nevada Youth Soccer Association who were outraged by a tournament deal negotiated behind their backs with Key Reid, son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The agreement with Key Reid’s Heat FC group, which is yet to be finalized, sidestepped the traditional process of allowing the Nevada Youth Soccer Association to control access to city fields.

Reid’s group went directly to city officials because the soccer association refused to grant access for a tournament scheduled for March 7-9.

Soccer association officials, however, said they tried to play ball with Heat FC but were undermined by city officials they alleged were influenced by the Reid name.

The meeting Tuesday was an attempt to smooth things over with Nevada Youth Soccer without tossing out the Heat FC agreement that city officials hoped would become a model for future tournament agreements.

“It may have been rocky along the way to get to this point, but this is a pretty good resolution for all,” city manager Betsy Fretwell said.

Heat FC is part of the Southern Nevada Soccer Association, which claims about 6,500 participants in the region. Nevada Youth Soccer Association claims about 12,000 participants in its ranks statewide.

The dispute between the soccer groups arose as the city was seeking to increase the cost recovery percentages within the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department.

Under the agreement with Nevada Youth Soccer, the city’s share of tournament proceeds will increase from 15 percent to 20 percent of revenue, and the definition of revenue will be broadened to include items like merchandise sales and hotel partnership income, Fretwell said.

The city will have the opportunity to do financial audits of individual tournaments, according to a joint statement from the city and Nevada Youth Soccer.

Heat FC will get to keep the date of its upcoming March tournament but will eliminate another tournament date so the total number of tournament weekends can remain at 13 per year.

“I appreciate the city’s willingness to sit down and work out the variety of issues in scheduling so many local tournaments,” said Nevada Youth Soccer representative Lisa Mayo-DeRiso in the statement. “These tournaments are beneficial to the youth as well as our local economy and it was important for us to find a fair solution for all involved.”

Heat FC and the Southern Nevada Soccer Association weren’t in attendance at the Tuesday meeting.

“SNSA and Heat FC are not aware of the details of the agreement between NYSA and the City of Las Vegas. We support any efforts by the City to ensure more fairness and transparency in the field allocation process,” according to a statement from David Merrill of the Southern Nevada Soccer Association.

Contact Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenSpillman702

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