Connect with us

MLS

Sounders will move training facility to Longacres

Published

on


Once considered one of the best training facilities in MLS, Starfire Sports complex now feels like a relic of a previous era, and the Seattle Sounders have long been open about their need to upgrade. They will soon announce their plans to do just that.

The Sounders are currently planning to build a new training facility at the old Longacres Racetrack in Renton, Sounder at Heart has learned. Asked for comment, the Sounders did not confirm those specifics but they did say they will unveil their plans “in the near future.”

“Sounders FC expects to share more details about the club’s long-term plans for its training facility in the near future,” the statement read. “We look forward to revealing this information to our fans and the greater public very soon.”

The Longacres property had been owned by Boeing for many years, and included their commercial airplanes corporate headquarters and formerly housed their state-of-the-art training facilities and full-flight simulators. The property was put on the market in April and recently purchased by Unico Properties.

The entire property is about 150 acres, and includes two large ponds, a 1-mile walking trail and an apple orchard. That’s about three times bigger than Starfire, which includes 12 outdoor fields — including a 3,500-seat stadium — and two more indoor fields.

Longacres property

It is believed that the Sounders will only occupy a relatively small portion of the Longacres property, with much of the rest being developed into housing and retail space. The new facility will almost certainly be ready in time to bolster the potential 2026 World Cup bid, but the earliest it would be ready is probably 2024.

While the exact plans are not yet known, the Sounders are expected to house all team operations there, marking the first time the entire organization has been at one location. That will include lockers and gathering space for the first team, MLS Next Pro and academy players, plus multiple training fields and offices for both soccer and business operations. The Sounders’ non-technical staff have been working remotely since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and vacated their Pioneer Square offices last year.

The Longacres property has a rich sporting history. Operating from 1933-1992, it was the longest-running thoroughbred racetrack in the western United States before shuttering. The Longacres Mile handicap was its most notable race, and one that continues to be run at Emerald Downs in Auburn.

The Sounders are obviously more interested in the space’s future after long ago outgrowing Starfire. The Sounders moved into the former Fort Dent property in 2008, where they not only played their final USL season but also established their headquarters as they prepared to enter MLS. After joining MLS, the Sounders kept their front-office staff and players at Starfire but shared business operations and office space with the Seattle Seahawks at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Although the Seahawks maintained their ownership stake, the Sounders brought their business operations in-house in 2014 when they moved into the Pioneer Square offices.

When Starfire opened, it was standard for MLS teams to have just one training field and often didn’t even have a dedicated locker room. Starfire not only had pristine grass fields that could be rotated but a FieldTurf training surface and indoor fields, spacious locker rooms, a film room, offices for technical staff, a weight room, meeting space and a cafeteria.

Starfire — which is owned and operated as a non-profit — is also located in a public space, the former Fort Dent Park. That grants a level of accessibility that is almost unheard of in top-flight soccer. From the very beginning, Sounders training sessions have always been viewable by the public — often drawing dozens or even hundreds of fans — and it’s normal for sessions to overlap with youth soccer tournaments. The downside is that players and staff often have to fight for parking spaces and sometimes have to deal with a bit more attention than they’d otherwise prefer.

More than those relatively minor annoyances is that virtually every MLS team has either built a new training facility or significantly upgraded their existing one since the Sounders moved in. Nearly two-thirds of those facilities have been built since 2017, which is also around the time when they started to look more like their European counterparts. Teams are now spending anywhere from $30 million to $90 million on these newer dedicated facilities, whereas Starfire was built for about $14 million and originally designed to serve the larger soccer and softball communities.

Even at the low end of that range, this will be the largest single investment Sounders ownership has ever made in the team. The partnership of Adrian Hanauer, Joe Roth and Drew Carey paid about $30 million for expansion rights in 2007. The team was valued at more than $700 million last year.

Up until now, the Sounders have mostly been able to use existing facilities and haven’t been forced to invest heavily in Starfire. In some ways, they have even allowed Starfire to regress. For instance, when the facility upgraded their weight room last year, the Sounders elected to buy the old equipment and put it in a tent near the locker room, which became a bit of a running joke among players as “the best-kept secret in MLS.”

There had been plans to upgrade the facilities in 2015 along with the launch of the USL team. Those plans were eventually scrapped, though, after they were ultimately deemed more of a band-aid than a real long-term solution. The Sounders continued to explore the possibility of making a more serious investment into Starfire — at one point, they even considered trying to partner with the Seattle Kraken in a dramatic reimagining of the space — but starting with essentially a blank canvass was considered a more prudent path toward getting a world-class facility that could house the team for the next generation.

The new space will surely have a bit more privacy than Starfire, but won’t exactly be inaccessible. Longacres is basically across 405 from Starfire and only about a six-minute drive away. It’s also located on Metro’s RapidRide F Line, which connects it to the Tukwila International Boulevard Link light rail stop and Renton Landing. Although the Sounder commuter rail and Amtrak have limited service, they both have a stop that’s connected to Longacres’ west side.

Nearby the property that was once pitched as a home for the return of the Seattle Supersonics are several hotels, the Interurban and Green River Trails, and a walking bridge that crosses the Green River, connecting the property to the core of Tukwila.



Source link

MLS

Midfielder Celeste Boureille departs Thorns FC

Published

on

By


Celeste Boureille has informed Thorns FC of her impending move to a European-based club, the club confirmed today, with an announcement regarding her next destination expected in the near future

Boureille, 27, was out of contract with the Thorns after the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League season and had announced her departure from the team on Monday via social media.

She joined the Thorns as an undrafted free agent before the 2016 season and went on to make 66 regular-season appearances with the club over her six seasons. She was part of NWSL Shield winning teams in 2016 and 2021 and was member of the Thorns’ NWSL Championship team in 2017.

“My time as a Thorn has been an amazingly rewarding experience and I have loved every second of it,” Boureille said on Twitter. “Thank you to the entire Portland organization for giving me this unforgettable opportunity since day one as a Pro.”





Source link

Continue Reading

MLS

Charlotte FC eye more DPs beyond “special player” Karol Świderski

Published

on

By


Krneta assured that more additions are on the way, too, particularly of the DP variety (as many as two more). Ecuador international midfielder Jordy Alcívar is currently a Young DP, though that classification could change come roster compliance day.

“We’re looking for more,” Krneta said. “There will be more DPs, we have options and this is why we build the club and the roster in a way that we can cherry-pick, if you like, at the end of the roster-building who we want. … These very good players, it’s not easy to get these players over the line. There’s always an issue or two. But hopefully soon we’ll add one or two more players.”

As key signings are finalized, Świderski is relishing the opportunity – and natural pressure – that awaits him in Charlotte.

“America, this was my dream also,” Świderski said. “I’m so happy to be here.”





Source link

Continue Reading

MLS

Atlanta United Adds Sixth Preseason Opponent 

Published

on

By


ATLANTA – Atlanta United today announced the club has added a sixth preseason match against Tepatitlán FC to be played Sunday, Feb. 13 while the team is in Mexico. It will be the second match Atlanta plays that day after taking on Chivas Guadalajara. Both matches will be played at Chivas’ Verde Valle training facility and are closed to the public.

The club also announced it will stream each of its remaining preseason matches live on ATLUTD.com/live, including all three matches in Mexico. Atlanta is scheduled to open its 2022 MLS Regular Season on Sunday, Feb. 27 against Sporting Kansas City at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (3 p.m., FS1/FOX Deportes). Tickets for the Home Opener are now available.

After playing Georgia Storm on Jan. 25, the club will continue its preseason with its second match against Georgia Revolution on Jan. 30 (12:00 p.m.) at the Turner Soccer Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens. The match, presented by Piedmont Healthcare, sold out to Season Ticket Members earlier on Wednesday and the club also announced that a portion of the ticket proceeds will be donated to the Piedmont Healthcare Foundation.

Atlanta will then travel to Guadalajara and train daily at Club Atlas Colomos in Zapopan, Mexico. It’s first match at Colomos will be against Celaya FC and will be open to media. Atlanta will then play two matches Feb. 13, playing Tepatitlán FC after its match against Chivas. Tepatitlán FC is currently in Mexico’s second division and will join Celaya as the second Liga de Expansión MX opponent for Atlanta this preseason. Tepatitlán won the league’ Clausura – winning the Guardianes 2021 by defeating Atlético Morelia in the tournament final. A week later it won the 2020-21 season by defeating Apertura champions Tampico Madero in penalties.

After returning from Mexico, Atlanta will play its final preseason match at Birmingham Legion FC on Feb. 20 at Protective Stadium. Ticket information for the match will be announced in the coming weeks.





Source link

Continue Reading

Trending