World Cup fans watch finals at Willamalane, see new soccer fields

      SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Crowds of soccer fans caught the last of the World Cup action Sunday at the Willamalane Parks Sports Center in Springfield.

      Organizers saw the event as a way to bring soccer fans together and show off the new athletic fields at Willamalane.

      Crews are replacing the old artificial turf soccer fields at the Willamalane center that dated back to 2003.

      "The World Cup, which is even bigger especially with the U.S. gaining a lot of attention, was a good opportunity to bring people into our center," said Josh Brandl, Willamalane's program supervisor.

      Fans can start kicking it like their favorite soccer stars starting September 1, when crews hope to have the fields finished.

      The $3.5 million project also expands parking and installs light poles and a new entry plaza. The reconstruction project is covered by the $20 million bond approved by Willamalane voters back in 2012.