University City

Charlotte Soccer to build major complex

The Charlotte Soccer Academy is one step closer to having a place to call home.

After nearly two years of planning, CSA has selected three possible locations for a new $5 million soccer complex that will include six fields, offices and a gym.

The CSA said it has now entered their "due diligence" period and plans to select a location by the end of the year, start construction next year with a planned opening in January 2013, according to executive director Brad Wylde.

Since South Charlotte Soccer Association and Charlotte Soccer Club merged in 2009, CSA has been using facilities at local parks and schools to host their soccer programs.

The academy has priority use rights at CPI Securities Fields at Flat Branch Park and the fields at William R. Davie Park. CSA also uses fields at Crestdale Middle School, Jay M. Robinson Middle School and McAlpine Elementary.

CSA is one of the largest clubs in the state with more than 1,700 competitive players in addition to 2,500 players each year in the recreational program. It offers programs ranging from U4 instructional to national level teams. Wylde said the club had outgrown its current facilities.

"This is the missing piece to complete our club," he said. "What we were missing was our own home."

In choosing a site for the facility, they wanted a space large enough for multiple fields and a reasonable driving distance from the south Charlotte communities that make up the majority of the club's footprint.

The CSA Board of Directors has narrowed the choice down to three areas in three different communities, said board president John Koslick, who would not elaborate on the locations.

Plans for the facility include six lighted fields, five of which will be artificial turf. Wylde said the turf will hold up better to wear and tear and won't be as affected by rain and bad weather.

The sixth field will be natural grass, which the Elite Clubs National League and U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams need for training.

The complex will also include a 15,000- to 20,000-square-foot building that will have offices for the club's 13 full-time members, concessions and a 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot gym and physical therapy area.

The complex will be funded by sponsorships and an investment from the club. CSA has official nonprofit status and is funded by dues paid by players' families.

While he hopes the entire facility is built by the planned January 2013 opening, Koslick said he understands that it might be completed in stages.

"The primary thing is to get the fields built," he said. "This will give us a lot more flexibility, which is something we've needed for so long."

The club will continue using its other facilities after the complex is built.

Wylde also said he hopes other organizations will get to use the fields, like local colleges and high schools hosting tournaments or the Charlotte Eagles, a professional soccer club that players in the United Soccer League.

CSA has high quality staff and coaches, said Wylde, but they wanted to be able to offer fields and training areas to match the instruction.

"Our goal is to be one of the top clubs in the country," he said.

For Koslick, it's good to see real progress after many months of hard work by the board of directors.

"For us, it's really exciting," he said. "Now we're seeing the dream come true."