RALEIGH, N.C. — The Capital Area Soccer League is nationally known for its youth soccer programs.
The nonprofit parlayed its land deals into a business.
While running the soccer programs for Raleigh and Cary, CASL started reinvesting program fees to buy its own land.
"Of our $300 million budget, a lot of it is tied up in that," CEO Charlie Slagle said. "Some of that is loans and paying off what we've already purchased."
The league owns all 25 of the WRAL soccer fields. It employs about two dozen paid staff members and hundreds of volunteers.
CASL shares some construction and maintenance costs with municipalities, in exchange for control of soccer fields like Dorothea Dix.
More than $16 million in taxpayer money funneled through CASL to help pay for the SAS Soccer Stadium, where the Carolina Courage played.
"But there was no way we used it for anything else," Slagle said.
CASL managed the lush fields but did not own them. Next week, the town of Cary will take over.
Slagle deflected charges that CASL monopolized fields while overcharging players. He said the nonprofit paid its way by building soccer programs and tournaments that kick millions into the local economy.
At the same time, he admitted that CASL benefited from a sweet deal -- a deal that he said should be changed out of fairness to others who want to use public parks.