Evergreen SportsPlex now complete, plans expansion to fill demand
With the population in northern Virginia skyrocketing in recent years, the are counties and state have been working to account for the increase in many areas of everyday life. And where local governments sometime come up short, one group has stepped in over the last couple of years to address what Loudoun County youth sports families have known for years – an extreme lack of quality sports fields near home.
“The county doesn’t have enough fields right now to accommodate the number of families and the growth the county has had the last ten years,” Evergreen Sportsplex Managing Director Chris Bourassa said. “We started out with wanting to provide fields so kids had a good place to train and develop their skills.”
That’s why Evergreen opened in 2013. And while Bourassa said during an interview today while they were currently done building and wanted to concentrate in the term on operations, that ultimately they want to expand.
The catalyst for the impressive, multi-sport, multi-activity complex was when the original owner of the land, Steve Battiston, saw the need for facilities and wanted to provide his children—as well as others across the state—with a top-notch training ground. He offered up the land in exchange for becoming a part-owner of the facility.
The complex’s four turf fields went in first, opening about 18 months ago. According to Bourassa, Evergreen the only location in the United States that has four FIFA-certified fields at the same location. They can be used for official football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey competition, as well as any number of other activities requiring outdoor space.
“This is a beautiful venue,” said James Wright, who coached the U19 PUSA X-Treme Panthers at the 2015 Virginian Elite Showcase at Evergreen Sportsplex. “That’s why we enjoy coming here. The fields are always gorgeous and the conditions are great.”
A recent addition to the facility is the adventure course that opened in January. Zip lining, a ropes course and rock climbing are all available and offered at a discounted rate to teams who play at the complex.
“We wanted to make it more of a destination than just a place to practice or play your games,” Bourassa said. “We want to provide something families can benefit from.”
A newly-built pavilion opened for the first time on Memorial Day Weekend for the 2015 Virginian Elite Showcase. It includes a restaurant, retail store and seating and is meant to compliment larger events, such as the D.C. United PDL U23 games they are now home to. WiFi and multiple indoor/outdoor TV screens will be the final touches in the next few weeks.
Bourassa cited a major benefit of the pavilion, fully equipped kitchen, seating area, and WiFi as providing an option for today’s on-the-go parents and multi-sport families a place to get some work done or eat a meal together right at the site of a practice or game.
Because the venue also hosts a plethora of college showcase events for lacrosse and soccer, the pavilion includes an indoor space for coaches and scouts on the top level. While watching live action on one field, they may also watch other games on two 50 inch monitors.
“It’s very simple to see what you need to see as a scout and the hospitality is fantastic,” said Matt Hisler, the Johnson & Wales Charlotte women’s soccer coach. “You can’t ask for a better location and better conditions.”
The nearly completed ground floor of the pavilion sports locker rooms, a multi-purpose area, storage, and office space for Evergreen Sports and Evergreen Lacrosse clubs.
The next phase for the park’s renovation is to add indoor recreation. They don’t have the zoning to do so yet, but hope they will sometime next year to allow for sport-specific training in an existing building, as well as potentially add another building along Evergreen Mills Road.
And with land to spare, adding up to four more full-size athletic fields would be likely to follow as demand warrants. With or without future expansion, this sports complex certainly must be considered as one of the best in the country and is sure to continue to attract top class events for years to come.