West Seattle Junction FC updates: Preseason victory – but still fighting for access to ‘existing field resources’

(Photos courtesy Junction FC)

Less than two weeks now until West Seattle’s new pre-pro soccer club, Junction FC, takes the field for their season-opening match on Sunday, May 19. On Sunday, hundreds of fans got a preview during a preseason match with Cultures United FC at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex. But the organization is still trying to get approval from Seattle Public Schools, which owns the venue, for access to operationally vital field resources. Junction FC executive director Jessica Pierce shares this report on the game and the challenges:

It was an exciting 4-0 victory for West Seattle Junction FC vs Cultures United Sunday in their first friendly match of the 2024 season at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex! With goals by Joel Demian, Will Maschmedt, Reed Henley, and Mani Diop.

The team showcased exceptional skill and determination on the field, making for an outstanding first performance after only four days of training together. The fan base was also strong despite the Sounders afternoon match and cold stormy weather.

The Club welcomed approximately 300 guests to the stadium who enjoyed tres leche cake, spicy duros, and Mexican-inspired coffee while cheering on the Junction FC to their win.

However, amidst this triumph, Junction FC continues to face challenges with Seattle Public Schools and equitable access to existing field resources despite paying the hefty rental fees and 10% of ticket revenue for their permit. Junction FC reports ongoing struggles with SPS, who are currently denying essential resources like the Nino Cantu scoreboard, existing WiFi, essential PA systems, and space in the empty home team booth to monitor the game properly.

Junction FC, in collaboration with West Seattle Booster Club, will be running concessions to benefit the West Seattle High School Athletic program; both rely on WiFi to run point of sale terminals and cameras for their (7) home matches. A majority of the concessions profit is donated to the Booster Club to run their 2025 athletic programs, which SPS gives minimal funding to. The scoreboard and PA system are obvious essentials for the general fanbase as well as those with visual or hearing impairments. SPS cites Master Use Permits from 2002 and a 1999 Superintendent decision which notes that a PA system will be installed and used up to 10 times per year for football. The language does not limit the use to 10; it notes how often it will be used. The decision goes on to say that the Parks Department may also use the PA system for weekend tournament play to allow more intensive use throughout the year. This Master Use Permit was superseded by the 2011 MUP (3011407-EX) which approved the relocation of Denny Middle School from the athletic complex property to its current location behind Chief Sealth; this action expanded the public space and the sports complex. All conditions were removed and no limitations exist on public record.

The issues of WiFi and scoreboard access come without consistent reasoning. Junction FC has requested time for public testimony at this Wednesday night’s School Board Meeting and will open this issue up to a greater audience. The Club has workarounds in place to get through the season, but is frustrated by the necessity for replacement resources when adequate facilities are already in place for the benefit of the community, its taxpayers. Stay tuned for updates.

We’ll be asking SPS for comment on this tomorrow.

37 Replies to "West Seattle Junction FC updates: Preseason victory - but still fighting for access to 'existing field resources'"

  • Adam May 6, 2024 (6:54 pm)

    Just another bang-up job by SPS. Hey, at least they’re consistent, if anything. Would love to know their argument but history tells me it’s not a good one. 

  • jissy May 6, 2024 (7:51 pm)

    Our tax dollars at work!  Have  you seen the pie chart and what we pay for schools?  Good Lord, rent them out as often as possible for as much as possible to lighten the load!  Numskulls!  

  • Jack May 6, 2024 (8:57 pm)

    SPS feeds fuel to the fire for taxpayers who resist voting for school bonds when they could simply use their resources effectively to maximize facilities’ use and support. Those in positions of power over the facilities should be checked.

  • mich May 6, 2024 (8:59 pm)

    Ah.. now I understand why there was nowhere to read the score during the game! The game was super fun– brought my preschooler and he enjoyed the game! I hope SPS sees the value in this and chooses to collaborate and not get caught up in red tape.  

  • KC May 6, 2024 (9:35 pm)

    Ridiculous that SPS is trying to hamstring Junction FC, a group which is clearly a positive community influence. Not every fan can afford Sounders tier tickets, but families and soccer fans can come together over Junction games. Why wouldn’t SPS want more dedicated, hardworking, inspiring male role models being visible and accessible to our youth? I’d like SPS to tell us exactly what the problem is, but I doubt we’re going to get any clarity from them. 

  • jfcsuperfan May 6, 2024 (10:27 pm)

    1 friendly down and I’m already a die hard fan! That was so much fun and these players look like they’ve been together for way more than 4 days! Bravo to those community members who brought this to life for us!But leave it to SPS to try and squash our fun…Good lord don’t they have bigger fish to fry than a score board and a microphone. #shameonsps 

  • Kyle May 6, 2024 (10:29 pm)

    SPS bureaucracy is maddening. Aren’t they running a huge deficit and likely going to require parents to help fund sports next year? Seems like renting out a stadium adequately would help offset those costs. Ridiculous bureaucracy to be quoting a 20 year old master use permit instead of just giving them PA and scoreboard access for some spring games.

    • LongliveJFC May 7, 2024 (8:34 am)

      Kyle- yes and JFC is jumping right in to help fund the student athletes in 2024/25 not just financially but even donating their own gear at the end of the season and replacing soccer nets etc. SPS needs to show us they understand what’s in the best interest of the children. Shutting down those who want to help is not a good look right?!

  • Bigblueman May 6, 2024 (11:10 pm)

    My experience with people that show the kind of behavior like that thrust upon West Seattle’s Junction FC is often due to people of power that have compromised their values for irrational beliefs they have yet to deal with. An open mind in this particular case would have little reason to block or encumber community activities like these soccer matches. For those involved with the creation of Junction FC great effort has been made to complete all the requirements necessary to make this organization a fixture of the community that provides healthy entertainment and an excellent development platform for players to pursue their goals. SPS needs to monitor the employees demonstrating bad faith in their dealings with Junction FC.

  • Mrs. Myrtle May 7, 2024 (3:53 am)

    The SPS candidate during the election are something I pay little attention to. However, let it be known I won’t vote for any candidate to continue to contribute to delay. Who’s with me? 

    • Love73 May 7, 2024 (8:29 am)


  • Mike May 7, 2024 (7:07 am)

    Entertaining soccer game on Sunday. Don’t know much about the game; my daughter and grandson took me to the event; and was great entertainment. What I don’t understand is: why the scoreboard was not working? It does for other events on the field. This need to be kept consistent. Great showing Junction FC; I’ll be coming to see more of the games.

  • KG98126 May 7, 2024 (7:37 am)

    https://mynorthwest.com/1238953/dori-fred-podesta-seattle-schools/The late Dori Monson reported on the current head of the department. Good read. Shameful abuse of power. I’ll be at that school board meeting for sure.

  • jfc player May 7, 2024 (7:43 am)

    It’s incredibly frustrating to see this mismanagement of community resources. The stadium has the potential to serve as a vital hub for community events. We really need transparency from SPS about what the specific roadblocks are in making the stadium more accessible, and a clear plan on how they intend to address these issues. The community deserves to fully benefit from its own facilities.

  • Everything-but-soccer-mom May 7, 2024 (7:48 am)

    Too many SPS criticisms not to push back here,  even though I have had my challenges with them as well.  As a long time field scheduler, my question to you is whether or not you have provided enough insurance to cover the cost of repairing any of the equipment, if broken during your usage.  With regards to wi-fi, there is guest wifi, but better would be a $50 hot spot, those Square devices do not take much bandwidth.  I think SPS is protecting the tax payers’ and the students’ in this situation.  Yes, you have to pay for a caretaker and wear and tear on this tired facility, so that tax payers don’t have to carry all the costs. You are just now proving your intentions and abilities to use their resources, they have a right to be cautious.  Once you become a valuable and trusted club, maybe they’ll be happy to work with you.

    • Love27 May 7, 2024 (8:25 am)

      We are the taxpayers lol. 2million in insurance is the special permit requirement, so yes. WiFi is available but shut off. Boosters had to put up their own extender last football season. 

    • OneTimeCharley May 7, 2024 (9:02 am)

      I agree. It seems like everyone is coming at this from the point-of-view that the complex is just sitting and waiting empty to be used by a business venture. This is far, far from the case. I rarely see the field empty from one youth community sports league to the next. Maybe SPS expects more compensation from an organization structured like a business for access to the full goodie box? Since the community groups have virtually zero funding, SPS is more generous with their (us citizens’) equipment. Folks are now trying to squeeze in pickleball courts in what is currently a paved area for overflow parking during football games, etc.. Their are limits people; opportunity costs. If it comes down to problems sharing, then the SPS programs and children’s programming of all types will obviously be the priority. Perhaps instead of complaining publicly, they should handle this professionally and directly. I am pretty sure they know exactly why they do not have access to that equipment and are simply trying to stir up controversy to muscle their way into getting what they want for free. Pull out the written contracts with SPS, review carefully, then take it or leave it is what I say Junction FC. Perhaps their are other private facilities that suit your desires more closely?

      • The Beautiful Game May 7, 2024 (12:36 pm)

        We have been working with them for over 6 months, and have dotted all I’s and crossed all T’s.  We have insurance, and we have access to the field 8 times, when the field was open.At the end of the day, we are charged multiple thousands of dollars for each game, and all we have access to is the field.This is not the case of a business venture just trying to get something ‘for free’… all doors have been shut based on the decision of one man, which is why we are finally opening it up outside of our repeated internal efforts.We want the Sealth HS soccer team to run the scoreboard like they’ve done dozens of times, so it’s not the case of an outside group maybe breaking things.  These students need service hours, and the concessions would bring much needed dollars into the sports groups.

        • Sealth parent and teacher May 7, 2024 (9:47 pm)

          I agree that this is ridiculous.  Having Sealth kids run the scoreboard is great, but if the details above are true, no money would go into their program.  It mentions WSHS boosters no mention of Sealth sports funding. 

          • J. Pierce May 8, 2024 (5:13 am)

            Local sponsors have donated funds and materials to fill the concessions, Example: Cascade Produce donated 1500.00 worth of compostable paper and plasticware to the concession stand so it was one less expense for the students, 80% of profit from sales are retained by Boosters. To date, $1000.00 has been donated by local business so far to help stock the snacks. The Club does the work of raising this money as well to support the concession booth for the kids. At $10-15.00 dollar tickets, or free if you stop at the YMCA (partnered with us to distribute free tickets) the Club has has to work very hard to cover the $30,000.00 rental fee for 7 by SPS (originally $42,000.00 before applying for fee reduction). For 30k, yes, there is no deniable reason in any public document (readable above in links) to deny a scoreboard or proper use of the already installed facilities on a property that we all already pay hefty taxes to. And lastly, yes both schools are represented, though Sealth, who was contacted first for partnership, failed to respond to multiple requests to the AD and staff over the past 6 months. They are extremely bus, we understand. We have been able to connect with heir new varsity soccer coach Cade, who is trying to rally students and/or parents to volunteer like WS is. Everyone has my name and number in their inboxes and voicemails. Just email me. We need LOTS more hands to accomplish this massive task of hosting accessible sports events. PS…I’m a mom of 3 teenagers and I live 4 blocks from Sealth. Get to know us, and the facts, before you decide where our priorities lie or where our hearts are focused. It’s an open door policy and we’re here to help and give back in any way possible! Email me and volunteer! 

      • ray333 May 19, 2024 (10:10 pm)

        Long time K-12 Athletic Administrator here with a bit of knowledge of the situation. In my very long year career working in the world of sports facilities and high schools, I have never heard or seen anything remotely close to the stinginess with this facility that SPS is exhibiting here, including right here in the Seattle area. And from what I hear, they are being far more lenient with Ballard FC at Memorial Stadium. When you rent out your facility to an outside group, you are renting out the ENTIRE facility. If you have concerns about your equipment (which, trust me, is extremely easy to use and standard to anybody who has run a sporting event, of which I know Junction has many), you work with the organization and do your due diligence, not ignore attempts to communicate, as SPS has done. I have seen orgs charge a bit extra for these parts of the facility, but never in 30 years have I seen anybody be completely barred from these extremely basic but essential functions. Particularly if you are working with a semi-professional, high-level sporting organization with experienced staff that is not only paying a hefty sum, but also investing HEAVILY in the community and its youth and providing service and growth opportunities for kids from the school across the street. The first thing you would have noticed at today’s opening match is the engagement and enjoyment the communities kids and youth soccer clubs received. From what I have heard from reputable sources, Junction is in no way “trying to drum up controversy” and has been amicable to additional costs if need be (it is absolutely ludicrous to suggest that they are trying to “get what they want for free”. All I have heard (repeatedly), is that the only side being unprofessional in this process is SPS. Junction is certainly making the most of the hand they have been dealt, especially based on today’s opener. I would venture to assume that you did not attend this wonderful celebration of sports in the community. You should get out there, it was a ton of fun!

    • WS4LIFE May 7, 2024 (9:21 am)

      As an ex SPS employee who worked closely with Facilities and Risk Management, I think you are on the right track here with your reasoning. Like it or not, there are risk factors that take time to work through, it’s a drag, but it’s a safety measure for taxpayers.

      • ??? Say what ??? May 8, 2024 (6:10 am)

        I felt quite safe and happy as a taxpayer sitting in those stands on Sunday enjoying hot coffee and yummy cake that was provided, cheering with the neighbors that attended with us for free, and watching our local guys come home and play soccer! It was awesome! It was the first time in a LONG time I’ve seen taxpayer money put to the right use! Love love love JFC. Thank you!!

    • What?? May 7, 2024 (9:33 am)

       Once you become a valuable and trusted club, maybe they’ll be happy to work with you.”Are you telling people to just suck it up and prove you are trustworthy by NOT having access to something like an electronic scoreboard and that if nothing goes wrong then the service you are paying money for may be given to you?!?maybe they should play on a other pitch first just to prove that they know how to respect the turf?

      • Respecting turf?!! May 8, 2024 (5:35 am)

        Know the facts and the people behind this first. An owner of the club has served as a field scheduler for HSA youth soccer for 25 years and 3 others are reputable coaches in our community for over 20 years each. The other two female owner’s families have lived in WS for over 20 years and also long supported youth sports in WS. The student athletes at Sealth have been asked by the club to run the scoreboard in exchange for donations by the club and fulfilling community service hours. 2million is the required insurance policy to rent space and should cover the remaining gaps in any other “trust issues” you think exist.These are GOOD people. Each and every one of them are salt of the earth hard working community members with their head and their hearts in the exact right place. They deserve our support against the intolerant and short-sited SPS Operations department. 

  • RJP May 7, 2024 (8:04 am)

    The concessions stand at this JFC game (which mind you supports and sells local businesses’ product) were battling gusty winds and rain under canopies, meanwhile, directly behind them, is an SPS-owned, locked-up concession stand, likely with better electric facilities and heating.Anyone who has been to a football game at SWAC knows that this covered concessions stand very much exists and is not out of commission. All of this has to be purely petty of SPS.Would like to see our publicly funded school system give back (other than education) to the people who pay them hefty taxes.

  • WesSeattleMom May 7, 2024 (8:09 am)

    Is there a call to action? Is there someplace to email to show support? 

    • Love73 May 7, 2024 (8:27 am)

      I wrote to Gina Topp and Rob Saka since the top brass clearly isn’t helping. 

  • WalkAllWays May 7, 2024 (8:20 am)

    Please let us know if there’s any way we can provide support for this push! Red tape and Seattle go hand in hand – but it’s ridiculous they’re banning the use of even a scoreboard for a sporting event.Just when you think you’ve heard it all. 

  • agree May 7, 2024 (8:59 am)

    My limited experiences at this location have been equally negative – it definitely feels like some power-hungry dictator is in charge and deliberately makes things difficult.  It’s a really nasty way to manage a taxpayer-funded resource.  I hope Junction FC is successful figuring out how to work with them.

  • kg May 7, 2024 (10:00 am)

    Is it possible that the committee, or sub committee that oversees the stadium only meet’s quarterly or bi annually? So that would mean no new business until that meeting. Just a hypothetical.i think we all know that red tape is a feature of the system.

    • The Beautiful Game May 7, 2024 (12:25 pm)

      No, communications have been going on weekly for 6+ months now.  Just no give from SPS 

  • CommunityBuilder May 7, 2024 (11:35 am)

    Why is it so difficult to make positive changes in the Community? Junction FC is working very hard to make a positive impact. SPS needs to do the right thing and relieve the stringent and baseless restrictions! This is ridiculous!

  • SPS students first May 7, 2024 (4:45 pm)

    Get in line. There are many community sports groups that apply to use Nino Cantu Sport Complex from Ultimate Frisbee to Youth Football to Youth Soccer to AAU Track and Field. It is a limited resources that should be focused on organizations that provide athletic participation opportunities for Seattle Public School students. Got any on your team?!?

    • Jessica Pierce May 7, 2024 (6:13 pm)

      Yes 8 high schoolers on the team and with exception of two that live in Renton and Tacoma. They are from West Seattle. If you add in this student athletes that will benefit from the sponsorships to concessions that go directly to West Seattle athletes, where in the hundreds….

    • not the point May 7, 2024 (7:35 pm)

      That’s not the issue in this case. There was not a problem scheduling the use of the complex itself like many other groups do. The issue is with denying access to the basic facility resources like the press box, scoreboard, and concession stand to be used while the complex is rented out so the event can run smoothly. Even with the full rental and insurance fees paid for full access.

  • Gregory Collins May 8, 2024 (8:23 am)

    It is so disappointing to see how Seattle Public Schools treats this new and exciting league. It’s extremely difficult to get a new FC going and to have SPS add additional hurdles for no apparent reason is frustrating to say the least. 

Sorry, comment time is over.