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Do athletes pay for chasing the greener grass?

Posted: August 18, 2013 10:55 p.m.
Updated: August 18, 2013 10:55 p.m.

Some athletes travel from all around the world to come to the Santa Clarita Valley in search of an opportunity. Photo by Jon Stein/The Signal

 

Today marks the second in a five-day series in which The Signal looks at the influence of money in our sports.

David Moore knows he and his family looked crazy from the outside.

But he wanted to give his daughter the best opportunity she could find to develop as a soccer player.

So she started playing for the Camarillo Eagles club soccer program at the age of 12, and Moore, after commuting from Santa Clarita to Los Angeles for work, would drive Marianne Moore to practice each night.

But the travel took its toll. Both on Marianne’s grades and David’s wallet — to the tune, he estimates, of an additional $150-$200 a week in gas alone.

So the Moore’s decided to get a little crazy — David, his wife Kali, older daughter Maloy and Marianne moved from the Bridgeport area of Valencia to Camarillo.

“We’re trying to enable her. From a very young age she showed a great aptitude for sports, but particularly for soccer,” David Moore said. “She was so good that it became one of those things, as parents, what is our responsibility? How crazy of a parent do you become? There are people that do way crazier things than we would do, but we did a little more than what most people would think was rational.”

All over the Santa Clarita Valley parents are doing whatever it takes for their children — and absorbing the costs associated with success.

Some move into the valley, seeking better opportunities at a place like College of the Canyons, while others move out, hoping the grass is greener on the other side.

Either direction, into or out of the valley, though, the costs add up.

Moving east is becoming a trend in the world of youth hockey, and for one local resident, that meant moving on his own to Boston to finish out high school.

John Fregeau sent his son Paul to Boston to play for a high level club team, a decision that has helped Paul to now play in the prestigious United State Hockey League.

“It’s becoming more common, simply because what happens is what they’re trying to establish (a reputation for getting) these kids into college,” John said. “So the only Division I (hockey) school on the West Coast is Colorado College, so that’s the problem — everything is East.”

Fregeau estimates that he spent $6,500 for Paul to play on the team in Boston, with an additional $500 paid to the family that he stayed with in the area.

Add to that the costs of equipment, meals and travel, and relocating Paul was a pricey expedition — but one that certainly helped the now 20-year-old hockey player get to where he is today.

People don’t just relocate out of the Santa Clarita Valley, though.

The local Canyons Aquatic swim club draws talent from outside the SCV, and even the state.

According to Canyons president Mark Osowski, at least two families moved to Santa Clarita from Arizona after their former coach, Coley Stickels, took over the CAC program.

And of course, athletes flock to the Santa Clarita Valley from all over the world to attend College of the Canyons.

Jonas Dahl is a successful junior golfer in his home country of Norway, but he wants to play NCAA Division I college, so he is hoping to use COC as a spring board.

“To get a scholarship and play golf at the high division in the United States,” Dahl said of why he made the decision to move around the world on his own.

Dahl said his parents and grandparents have helped him with the move financially, and he worked at a grocery store to save money, as well.

He said he heard “(Canyons) had a good reputation and they won the state and nationals and the person that helped me also said they move the best players to Division I.

“I felt it was necessary to move,” he said. “Then I can play golf for four years and all seasons (of the year).”

But in the end, is uprooting worth it to achieve athletic success?

The results are varied.

None of the families that spoke with The Signal about their relocation regretted taking the chance, but Moore offered up a piece of advice specifically to parents looking to vacate the Santa Clarita Valley.

Marianne decided that she enjoyed playing with her childhood friends more than she did the Eagles.

So Moore commutes to Los Angeles everyday for work. Then he heads home and drives his daughter to practice in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“It’s a cautionary tale. You’re never going to write an article that stops people from doing this, and people should go out and try stuff,” Moore said. “But the grass really isn’t greener.”

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