Kids soccer club bilked of $76,000

LYNNWOOD — The only thing that’s supposed to bounce are the soccer balls, not paychecks to young referees.

The volunteers who run the Terrace Brier Soccer Club, a popular south Snohomish County youth club, were surprised when the checks written from their bank account were returned. They believed there should have been ample money — around $80,000 — to cover reimbursement checks for referees, said Tim Bressler, the club’s president.

The group’s treasurer, a Lynnwood woman, 40, now is under investigation for first-degree theft, Lynnwood police spokeswoman Shannon Sessions said.

“It makes me sad for the local kids,” Bressler said Friday. “We don’t have any excess budget.”

The former treasurer is suspected of taking around $76,000, Sessions said. She has not been charged.

The woman was arrested Monday. She was booked and released. Detectives plan to forward the case to Snohomish County prosecutors.

The soccer club serves around 700 children each year, ages 5 to 18, Bressler said. It spends nearly $70,000 each year for soccer field fees, referees’ pay, uniforms and other gear.

Problems with the finances came to light in late February and the group since then has changed the way it does business, he said.

The former treasurer is cooperating with the police investigation, Sessions said.

Still, the group is scrambling to figure out how it will make payments.

Some people have volunteered to make extra donations, and the group’s insurance may cover some of the money that was stolen, Bressler said.

Despite the theft, the group plans to keep to its schedule and offer soccer this fall.

“It’s going to be a struggle,” Bressler said.

You can help

If you want to learn more about the Terrace Brier Soccer Club, or make a donation to support its programs, visit the group’s Web site, www.terrace-brier.org.

Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437, jholtz@heraldnet.com.

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