Dunson Field: from rundown baseball field to thriving soccer complex

Published 8:20 am Friday, April 8, 2022

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The Dunson Field has come a long way since John Fuller took over the park back in November 2019. What was once a desolate wasteland that was wasting away is now a vibrant soccer complex that is used practically every week.

“It was in disrepair. Nobody was taking care of it,” Fuller said. “The roof was falling off the grandstand. The grass wasn’t cut.”

Fuller brought this to the Troup County Parks and Recreation Department and asked them if he could pay for the renovations and turn it into the North Georgia Soccer Academy’s soccer complex. They agreed.

Dunson Field no longer has much left of its old baseball identity. The fences are gone, the first base dugout has been removed and the third-place dugout has been converted into a soccer storage facility.

Fuller is no longer in charge of maintaining the park as the city of LaGrange took it over last July and added more amenities to make it even more suitable for soccer games.

“They have done amazing things continuing the dream of what we had for it,” Fuller said. “They have put metal roofs on the bathrooms and the grandstand. They pressure washed everything. They renovated the bathroom as well. It’s now an active facility.”

For years, Dunson Field was avoided by people in LaGrange. Now, people are using the field more and more.

“[NGSA] practices there twice a week,” Fuller said. “We have anywhere between one and five games there every weekend, and it is bustling. You can drive over there really anytime during the week and you can see people from the community using it, which is something that never happened previously.”

The next step for the field is to have some of the imperfections fixed. Because it used to be a baseball complex, there are parts of the soccer field that are unlevel and could use some leveling out.

The field is not just for NGSA and other sanctioned sporting events. If the field is unoccupied, anybody can come out and use the goals and play some soccer.

“People can use it at any time it’s open,” Fuller said. “Families come out there on Saturdays and Sundays and do whatever they want to do. There’s birthday parties out there, and it’s really neat.”

As soccer continues to grow in the Troup County area, it is great to have facilities outside of the high schools to be a place for people to enjoy the game. As NGSA grows and its roots grow deeper into the LaGrange community, having a place to call home will be even more of a benefit to the club and the area at large.

“Taking a piece of property that was in disrepair and turning it into what it is now has been pretty special,” Fuller said. “Soccer field space is at a premium, so us having that as soccer fields has tremendously helped the soccer landscape in this town.”