COLUMBIA S outh Carolina United FC has purchased about 24 acres off I-20 in Columbia with plans for its second privately owned six-field soccer complex.
For years the soccer club had been saving money and looking for the right piece of land to complement its complex in Ballentine. The new complex, just off the Monticello Road exit, will be more centrally located for practice for local players in the Midlands and convenient to interstates for players who travel from outside the Midlands to train with S.C. United.
The timing of the purchase of the property had nothing to do with Richland Countys recent decision not to build a tournament soccer complex in the Northeast area, said S.C. United president Ron Tryon. S.C. United had been selected to operate the planned county complex, and it was still working on a draft management plan when the county killed the idea.
Even if that county complex had been built, S.C. United needed another set of fields to handle the practice needs of its more than 4,000 players on local recreational, statewide club teams and academy teams that play against national competition. Especially during the busy fall season, the club has so many teams they have to share fields on weekday nights.
In addition to the complex the club built in Ballentine in 1998, S.C. United also uses fields at several county-owned complexes. The Polo Road Park fields in the Northeast area are packed with younger players during the fall and spring seasons, but older players often had to drive to Ballentine for practices.
The new complex is just off the Windhill Drive frontage road north of Monticello Road. Its tucked behind several existing businesses on Sunbelt Court. The club spent $400,000 on the property, where it plans to build six, possibly seven, fields with restroom facilities and a small storage and weight-training building.