Soccer Holdings LLC’s Youth Academy Director Mario Sanchez, EVP of Development James O’Connor, President Brad Estes and Louisville City FC Sporting Director and Head Coach John Hackworth break ground at the club's new training facility on Tuesday. | Photo
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The new training home of the USL Championship’s Louisville City FC and the National Women’s Soccer League’s Racing Louisville FC hosted its groundbreaking on Tuesday afternoon, marking the start of construction on the new 30,000 square foot complex that will soon house both clubs and the organization’s youth academies.
Shovels hit the dirt just past 1 p.m. at Champions Park off River Road, where the clubs’ operations will be based in the future along with their accompanying youth academies. The training facility site is within two miles of the new Lynn Family Stadium, continuing to enhance owners’ investments in local professional soccer.
“This is an awesome day for us,” said Soccer Holdings’ president, Brad Estes. “It’s hard to believe in 2015 we started out as this little fledging club trying to make pro sports work in a town where pro sports hadn’t been that successful.
“As you pivot away from surviving and sustainability, you want to get to the point to where you’re thinking about flourishing. That’s what this training center’s going to allow us to do.”
Estes – along with Soccer Holdings LLC’s EVP of Development James O’Connor, LouCity Sporting Director and Head Coach John Hackworth, and Youth Academy Director Mario Sanchez – spoke to a small group limited to media, board members and essential club staff.
“What we’re doing here, I’m telling you clubs around the country — Major League Soccer, NWSL, USL — are taking notice,” Sanchez said. “People are calling us, and we’re setting the benchmark.”
The complex is being built AML Construction. On the property, three natural grass fields will accompany four turf fields fashioned by The Motz Group. Stadium lighting will allow for play at night, and the club plans to make the facility open to other community events.
In addition to locker room spaces for the pro clubs, the facility will include gym and workout areas, a kitchen, dining hall and media room. The building’s layout also houses Soccer Holdings’ front office staff.
“It’s just going to be a huge advantage for us going forward,” said Hackworth of the facility. “Now we have a youth program as well. It’s going to be incredible to have the vision of boys and girls playing and having professional teams, men’s and women’s, side by side. This is a phenomenal achievement for us, and I’m proud to be part of it.”
“To actually have our own training center — for us to attract elite-level talent on the female side — brings tremendous opportunity for us as an organization,” added O’Connor, who’s overseeing next year’s launch of Racing Louisville FC. “It’s not just for the professional aspect but for the whole community. We’ve got four turf fields we genuinely want the community to use.
“The commitment from ownership is inspiring and something all of us feel privileged and honored to be a part of.”