As police continue looking into the potential misappropriation of funds for the Healdsburg Youth Soccer League, others are coming forward to make sure the children will be able to play.
The San Jose Earthquakes are donating $4,000 worth of tickets to their games and $1,000 in cash to the youth soccer organization.
In addition, Adidas will be donating 120 soccer balls and 150 sports jerseys.
"The outpouring has been great," said Healdsburg City Councilwoman Lisa Wittke Schaffner, who also is secretary for the soccer league. "That's very exciting."
She said several service clubs in Healdsburg also are poised to help out with fund-raising for the league, which discovered it was broke and suspected more than than $35,000 of its funds may have been misappropriated.
League board members are reviewing checks that former president Kyle Hoffman wrote to himself for expenses that did not appear to be legitimate.
For example, Hoffman wrote a check to himself for $3,400 for "taxes," even though the league is a non-profit that does not pay taxes, according to Aziz Zhari, the new league president.
Hoffman declined comment when contacted by The Press Democrat.
Acting Healdsburg Police Chief Kevin Young said Friday it could take several months to conclude his department's investigation.
Young said he is awaiting more financial records from the soccer league to determine how much money may have been misspent.
"We obviously are not accountants. We have to have a person with the right credentials look at the books and sort things out, basically," he said. "Financial crimes are time-consuming. But the records tell the story."
He said the league will need to audit its records over a period of a couple or more years to track the flow of money.
"We have to organize it to look at each transaction," he said. "We won't rush to judgment."
The youth soccer league's funds come from registration fees and donations.
Earlier this summer, league officials discovered money appeared to be missing after checks bounced for expenses like painting white lines on the soccer fields.
There are about 300 boys and girls aged 18 and under who participate.
Most pay a $110 fee, while scholarships are available for some layers who can't afford the fee.
The fall recreation season just got under way. But with the financial debacle, League officials worried about their continuing ability to sponsor low-income families and even pay for soccer balls and other equipment.
The San Jose Earthquakes, a professional soccer team, read about the shortfall in The Press Democrat last week and decided to help.
"These kids are keeping the sport going. They are the force in the country that drives the sport," said Jordan Stepp, communications and web content coordinator for the Earthquakes.
He said the children and their families will be able to sell the $4,000 worth of tickets to San Jose Earthquakes home games and keep the proceeds.
"We want to make sure the kids are able to go out and play. We don't want it to affect the children," he said. "We want to help them out and get them back on their feet as quickly as possible."
You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.