Coastal Outreach Soccer’s success story deserves to be celebrated. It started in 2004 as an after-school program aimed at underserved and low-income families. Since then Coastal has grown into an organization that in 2019, supported more than 200 children between 4 and 18 years old.
The organization is not just an athletic endeavor. COS not only puts an emphasis on the importance of academics, it helps the program’s members experience education in a variety of ways.
Those methods have paid off. Since 2014, the program has a 100 percent graduation rate with many of its players earning academic or athletic college scholarships. That Coastal has pulled off this feat working primarily out of a portable building in Howard Coffin Park that serves as its academic center makes it even more impressive.
Now, COS executive director Shawn Williams has plans to expand the organization’s presence at Howard Coffin Park. He told The News that he hopes to improve the two large soccer fields, add a third, smaller field for younger players and build a new facility for Coastal’s academic program. Williams will be giving a presentation to the Brunswick City Commission at Wednesday’s meeting.
From what we’ve seen of the proposal, this is an initiative the city should support. First, COS and the city have been partners at Howard Coffin Park for 16 years, and COS has helped maintain the park in that time.
Second, Coastal is planning to raise the money for the project. The organization’s success has earned it a lot of deserving support in the community and heavily contributed to private entities coming on board to support the upgrades at Paulk Park. We have faith that the organization and its supporters will be able to raise the money for the expansion.
Finally, there is plenty of room at Howard Coffin Park to accommodate expanding the program. When discussing the idea of putting a possible baseball stadium in the park that could fit a few thousand people and serve as the home base for a team in a college wooden bat league, Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey said the park was “a sports complex, but there’s not a lot of sporting events there.”
If that is the case, and if a new baseball stadium can fit into the area, we see no reason why Coastal’s expansion can’t also fit into the park.
Coastal Outreach Soccer has proven that its system works. Helping the program get more resources so that it can help more kids going forward is a no-brainer for us. We hope the city and the rest of the community also see that.