When Scott Schauer opened the Santa Clarita Soccer Center nearly 26 years ago, he did it for the love of the sport.
“I opened up in 1994 because there was a huge need for a place to play soccer,” Schauer said. “Back in those days, there were signs at some of the parks saying, ‘No soccer in the parks,’ because there were so many people playing soccer and no place to play. So I opened it up just because I loved the game.”
While Schauer never expected he’d be closing the doors of the center permanently amid a pandemic, he’s grateful to have provided the facility to the residents, young and old, of the SCV, as it has been home to thousands of soccer players, from Lil’ Kickers to adult leagues.
“If our legacy was we were able to make a difference for even just one child, then that’s what we did,” Schauer added. “I have many memories that I will cherish forever.”
In 2015, the center moved from its home of 20 years near Santa Clarita Lanes to its current location on Rye Canyon Road.
Over the years, the center has also supported numerous local nonprofits, including The Michael Hoefflin Foundation, SCV Youth Project, Child & Family Center, Triumph Foundation, College of the Canyons Foundation, YMCA and AYSO, along with many more local community sports organizations.
“It’s really not me who helped all those nonprofits, it’s the Santa Clarita community that supported the business, and with that, we were able to support all of those nonprofits,” Schauer said. “All these organizations are such a great asset to our community, and I hope one day to be able to continue to support these great charities that have made a huge difference for so many.”
Though there were talks of a GoFundMe, Schauer said it’s too late to save the center.
“The bottom line is just: I can’t afford to keep a 26,000-square-foot building open with nobody allowed to come in,” he said, adding that any money raised would go toward paying back those who were playing when the center closed.
While Schauer said he’s sad to see the program go, he is thankful for every person who participated over the last quarter of a century, including his employees who gave so much to the center, with special thanks to the city of Santa Clarita, City Manager Ken Striplin, Mayor Cameron Smyth and Sen. Scott Wilk, who helped to keep the center open through the years.
“I wouldn’t be in this building if it wasn’t for (them),” he added. “I am not closing because of anything our local leaders could have done differently.”