FC Cincinnati in West End? Family, friends say they want Stargel Stadium to stay
WEST END, Ohio (WKRC) – Fourteen years ago there was a reason for celebration at an event in the West End. It was the beginning of a new high school stadium named for a local high school legend. Now, FC Cincinnati is taking a hard look at the West End for its potential move to major league soccer.
Taft High School's Stargel Stadium is not just a pillar of the West End. For Jason Stargel, it's a monument to his dad.
“The stadium's named after my father, Will Stargel, and we feel that it would be a travesty if the stadium was torn down,” Jason Stargel said. “He had an impact on the students to the degree that they named a stadium after him.”
Willard Stargel was an assistant coach at Taft High School in the West End.
FC Cincinnati is in talks with Cincinnati Public Schools about the Taft property. Although nothing is set in stone, FCC's interest prompted concerns that a potential soccer field could impact Stargel stadium.
Team president Jeff Berding was on 700WLW talking with Bill Cunningham about the options. Cunningham asked Berding, “Are they okay with Oakley, West End, or Newport?” Is MLS okay with all three?” Berding answered, “Yes. We presented Oakley. We reviewed a bit Newport. We had a discussion about the West End.”
Willard Stargel went on to teach and coach at Walnut Hills High School. That's where Dr. Robert Osher met him as a student. Stargel encouraged Osher at sports and Osher wrote about his mentor in his book.
Dr. Osher said, “He took such a wonderful interest in each one of us. You would've thought we were his sons, very special man. He taught us on the court. He taught us life lessons.”
Some may see the stadium as a field for sports. Others see it as a memorial of a man who cared.
Jason Stargel said, “We felt like Dad took to heart the importance to care about the community and the kids that were in the neighborhood.”
Six high schools use Stargel Stadium as their home field.