Soccer players would prefer not to get benched, but a bench is what they got in Dogtown.
Members of the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame who lived in the Dogtown neighborhood are among the latest people to have a bench dedicated to them.
The Dogtown Historical Society started the bench program earlier this summer. People already have bought 13 benches and placed them at various spots around the neighborhood. Two others await placement.
Bob Corbett of the Dogtown Historical Society is one of the many soccer players who will be memorialized by a metal plate that will be attached to the bench. Corbett said the bench is on the Wade Avenue side of St. James the Greater School, where most of the sports in the neighborhood were played.
“Anyone 50 or over, they knew all these soccer heroes. Dogtown was an absolute center of great soccer,” he said. “Soccer is not as popular now. It used to rival Sunday Mass.”
Daniel “Duke” McVey, who now lives in Columbia, Mo., bought the bench in honor of the soccer players. McVey, a St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame member, is president emeritus of the Missouri State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
Corbett keeps finding new names to add to the list of players from Dogtown. The list now stands at 26 players.
Other than the soccer player bench outside the school, residents have purchased benches as memorials to family members.
“We want to make it the bench capital of St. Louis,” Corbett said. “There are not that many commercial spots where people go by in Dogtown. We’re running out of spots.”
Corbett said he hopes more people will want benches placed away from the center of the neighborhood. He considers the boundaries of greater Dogtown to run from Macklind Avenue on the east to McCausland Avenue on the west and from Forest Park on the north to Interstate 44 on the south.
People can still sponsor a bench by contacting Corbett at firstname.lastname@example.org. The benches can be purchased with a $500 tax-deductible donation to the Dogtown Historical Society.
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