Missouri Soccer Players Are Drowning in Unpredictable Weather

2 Dec


Over the past 20 years, Missouri soccer players have experienced extreme flooding and rainfall affecting their games and season. Former soccer player and climate change activist talk about how this has changed sports for them.

Climate Change is Entering Its Way Into The Sports World

By Kelly Bowen

Hockey rinks in Canada are melting. Fifty percent of all golf courses are being threatened by rising waters at the end of this century. The 2022 World Cup has been moved to the fall due to extreme heat.

And the list goes on.

“[I think this is a topic no one talks about because] athletes don’t want the possibility of not being able to play their sport.” Holden Potter, climate change activist and college athlete said. “People don’t want to talk about it because they don’t want to face the reality of the situation.”

Climate change has been disrupting sports around the world. In Missouri, climate change is causing hotter temperatures, more extreme storms and more rainfall. In the past 20 years, many different soccer complexes in St. Louis have experienced extreme flooding negatively impacting soccer players.

This is a graph showing Missouri’s rainfall measured in inches from 1895-2019. Credit to: Climatologist Patrick Guinan.

“I played in a league called [St. Louis Youth Soccer Association] SLYSA when I was younger, around 10 years old, and I can count a handful of times where my games were cancelled because the SLYSA fields had been flooded,” Connor Davega, former youth soccer player said. “It sucked.”

According to Missouri State Climatologist Patrick Guinan, warm-season temperatures are projected to increase more in the Midwest than any other region in the U.S. Dr. Guinan also mentioned the oceans are warming, including the Tropical Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. This will enhance precipitation.

This graph shows the increase of warming costal waters and how it is increasingly affecting Missouri over the years. Credit to: Climatologist Patrick Guinan.

Other states like Utah, Florida and even parts of Canada are feeling the impact of climate change.

Jake Stronach has been in the sports world his whole life. His former job was with the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour as the manager of strategic partnerships for two years. Based in Orlando, Florida, he experienced hurricanes, rain delays and evacuations while on the golf course.

Stronach said at one point a golf course was completely underwater.

“It made me stressed out constantly because we [Hurricane Junior Golf Tour] were liable for it all,” Stronach said. “We had to cancel tournaments, shorten tournaments or move tournaments because the weather was unpredictable.”

Stronach is now the chief operating officer for Verbero. Stronach has tried to plan outdoor hockey games in Utah Park City and Toronto, but the cities would not commit due to warmer winters.

“We’re pretty skeptical to schedule outdoor tournaments now because there are less and less lakes and ponds freezing during the winter,” Stronach said. “It’s a big risk to commit to being outdoors with the possibility that the lakes won’t be frozen.”

Climate change is slowly but surely entering its way into the sports world and Potter is worried for the future.

“What if sports are taken out of regulation and they aren’t even a thing anymore because there isn’t a correct season or good enough conditions in certain areas of the world,” Potter said.

Climate Change Activist and College Athlete, Holden Potter.

One Response to “Missouri Soccer Players Are Drowning in Unpredictable Weather”

  1. kellybowenn December 2, 2021 at 9:46 pm #


    Kelly: you see the guy sitting down in the gray hoodie right there? Back in 2015 and 2017 if you’ve been sitting next to him you would’ve been well underwater.

    Kelly: this is normally what the World wide technology soccer Park would look like for soccer players in St. Louis, but it hasn’t always looks like this.
    This park has had extreme flooding four times in the past 13 years and every single time the water levels get higher.

    Kelly: This soccer complex, SLYSA, has also been flooded numerous times. Most recently in 2019. The only thing you could see above water back then was this sign that says SLYSA.

    Connor: There was always flooding that would cause our games to be canceled or rescheduled and this was really upsetting because it always affected our season in a negative way.

    Kelly: According to Climatologist Dr. Patrick Guinan, Missouri is currently experiencing an unprecedented wet period. Which means Missouri is getting more precipitation because of climate change which leads to more flooding.

    Kelly: According to his research, through 2000-2019, there has been a 35% increase in rainfall events in Missouri. Climate change activist Holden Potter is concerned for the future.

    Holden: Not for my sake necessarily, but my kids, like what if there is like sports literally taken out of regulation, like they are not even a thing anymore because there isn’t a current season or good enough conditions.

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