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Commentary Dec 18, 2012

Charities, with involvement from Mark Hughes, behind $700 million Tampa soccer complex proposal

By Jimmy LaRoue

Following up from an earlier blog post about the subject, the Tampa Tribune is reporting a proposal for a $700 million soccer stadium, soccer academy and sports medicine complex.

The venture, according to the story, comes from VisionPro Sports Institute Holdings–with Mark Hughes as an investor– based on the island of Jersey in the English Channel and would be built without government money, but would be funded through “an obscure federal program that allows charitable foundations to invest in money-making ventures,” according to the Tribune.

The proposal, as outlined at would start out with a 8,000-10,000 modular stadium for a USL PRO team, along with a 20-field soccer complex with a 4,000-seat stadium, along with a 28,888-seat stadium with a retractable roof and a world class sports medicine facility. The venture’s backers hope to ultimately field an MLS team in Tampa.

VSI Tampa Bay FC had fielded a PDL team in the USL but will have a USL PRO team in 2013, with Matt Weston as its coach. Weston, a former player with Ipswich Town, coached the Ocala Stampede to a PDL Southeast Division title in the club’s first season.

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