In its’ 20th year of developing players in Southern Illinois and after 18 months of intensive capital fundraising and 4 months of construction, SLSG Illinois officially opened its’ state of the art fully lit turf field on June 17th, 2013. The field, which runs 115×75 yards, is just one more demonstration of the continued improvements at the SLSG Illinois Collinsville Complex.
According to SLSG Illinois Facility manager, Shawn Hewitt, “The completion of the turf project marks the final step in a 2 year process which has seen numerous improvements to both the physical buildings at the Collinsville Complex as well as the playing surfaces for our membership.”
In the fall of 2011, two rye grass fields were added to the complex complete with laser leveling and irrigation. In the summer of 2012, the Metro Office Complex was renovated to include a locker room and team meeting area where video analysis and classroom sessions could be held. The addition of a fully lit turf field is a huge step and the culmination of this phase of improvements to the Illinois facility.
According to SLSG Illinois Program Director, Dale Schilly., “Since the clubs inception in 1993, it has been a goal to continue to build on the great soccer heritage of Southern Illinois. This community is steeped in tradition and has a long history of producing high quality players, coaches and teams. The Collinsville Complex, started by the Collinsville United Soccer Club has always been the Premier complex of Southern Illinois. The foresight of the Collinsville United Board, and continuance of that vision by the Metro United Board and now the St. Louis Scott Gallagher Board has paid off in a major way for Southern Illinois players. A special note of gratitude goes to Dan Randant who has served on all three Board of Directors, over sees the fields, invests a ton of time to help keep the facility moving forward and played a huge role in the improvements over the past 2 years.”
Construction on the field started in March after being delayed most of February due to harsh weather this past winter. Once construction started, an extremely wet spring and late snows further delayed the project; however, on June 17th the inaugural training session was held. According to SLSG Illinois Director of Coaching, Jeremy Alumbaugh, “Having this field will allow us to enhance the development of players in the club. Having a quality surface that is playable in almost any weather will also allow our players more consistency in their training. The first session today was supposed to begin at 4pm, but we had heavy storms that forced us to begin at 5pm. A few weeks ago instead of postponing we would have simply had to cancel. The benefits of this are almost endless.”
Starting in the fall of 2014, the entire SLSG Illinois membership will start to enjoy the benefits of the new turf field. First and foremost, the addition of a lighted field will allow for three training time slots, which means more teams can now be accommodated at the Collinsville Complex. Secondly, the addition of an all-weather field with lights will allow the Collinsville Complex to become the home of SLSG Illinois’ teams that compete in regional and national based leagues such as the US Club NPL, US Development Academy League and Elite Clubs National League. Finally, the field will now be used as a site for the SLSG P6 league, which will allow SLSG Illinois teams U7-U9 to play some of their P6 matches at the Collinsville Location.
According to Schilly, “At the end of the day our goal is simple, to develop players to create future opportunities, our mission is clear, we want to become the best club in the country. The recent developments at the complex are allowing us to get closer to those objectives. But above all else, it will help us help players become better.”