FASA, VYSA, allies dream big at Spotsylvania fields groundbreaking
By Charles Boehm
The route to last Friday’s ceremonial groundbreaking at the Spotsylvania Sportsplex at New Post, located southeast of Fredericksburg, Va., was the kind that routinely fools GPS systems and even the most map-savvy navigators.
It led attendees down a two-lane rural highway a few miles east of I-95, past Ruffin’s Pond and onto a humble dirt road, across a low creek and up a gravel ramp into a grass meadow bordered by outcroppings of trees. Looking eastward, several rolling fields stretched out into the distance, offering a vista not too different from the one that Civil War combatants might’ve glimpsed as they battled their way across this area a century and a half ago.
But it will all look rather different in a few short months, as the crowd of dignitaries and members of the Fredericksburg Area Soccer Association – gathered in front of massive industrial bulldozers and heaps of freshly-turned earth – would be quick to point out.
FASA’s initial construction phase, which officially kicked off on Friday, will see four full-sized fields and six small-sided fields completed in time for a fall debut.
It’s expected to eventually attract a range of other projects along a corridor of Virginia Route 17 ripe for development, especially as the Virginia Youth Soccer Association moves forward with its $15 million share of the project, a nine-field complex and headquarters building which VYSA Vice President Bob Maynes said would help “create a more informed soccer culture among the soccer leaders in the state” and host major tournaments and even professional clubs from overseas.
“If you look out over there, we’ve got commercial properties sitting right out there. We’re hoping to have hotels, restaurants, gas stations, stuff like that,” Lee Hill District Supervisor Gary Skinner, one of the leading figures in the complex’s creation, told The Soccer Wire as he gestured towards the south, where Route 17 intersected with Route 2 a short distance from the site.
“With the hospital [the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, completed in 2010], the VRE [commuter rail] station opening next year, this complex this will be a center of excellence…It’s a dream come true, and it’s actually quicker than we expected.”
Several years of work by several different parties culminated in Friday’s celebration, which marked the official onset of construction on the complex which could someday rank as one of the leading youth soccer facilities in the United States.
Maynes offered warm praise for Skinner’s efforts in bringing the project forward, while also explaining his organization’s plans to fast-track their side of the deal.
“We had planned initially, and had agreed with the county, to provide the first four fields, two grass and two turf, lighted, and have them in place by the end of five years,” said Maynes. “But we are instead planning now to have all nine fields done in the first five years. Two lighted turf and seven grass, and two of those grass will eventually be turf.
“That enables us, along with nearby Patriot Park, to host pretty substantial-sized events. We’ll be large enough to host regional events, ODP, national championships.”
State Senator Bryce Reeves was also on hand to congratulate all parties and dig a ceremonial shovel into the dirt.
“There are only so many things you can teach in a classroom, and those fundamental elements of social and moral values, ethics and some of those things, they’re only taught on the field of competition. And what better place to be able to do that than have a facility like this,” said the 17th District representative.
“We want to be able to help those business establishments around here grow and prosper, and of course this is a prime example of how a great private-public partnership works. You can see the enthusiasm that’s out here.”