FC Arizona: Something More Permanent

FC Arizona has slowly established itself over the last couple of years as an NPSL club with solid staying power. Currently on a nine game undefeated streak, the club has done a lot of the right things. One of those things is their big announcement on April 18th, 2019.

That day can be marked down as not only a momentous day in the club’s short history, but also in NPSL’s history. While Detroit City has moved in and renovated Keyworth Stadium and other clubs have essentially taken over existing stadiums, I believe this will be the first time a club at this level has built its own stadium. However, not only has owner Scott Taylor announced plans to build a stadium, he also announced there would be multiple training fields, an indoor complex, classrooms and multiple locations for businesses to join the FC Arizona family.

I got the opportunity to speak with Mr Taylor recently about the announcement and some of the plans for the future for the club and its new complex.

Image courtesy of FC Arizona.

Image courtesy of FC Arizona.

Before we get in to more detail about the stadium, how long have these plans been in the works?

A stadium solution has been worked on for the past year. Meeting with different developers, crafting business plans and pro-forma. The need for a Stadium where we can sell Beer and have a Permanent home has always been the plan, since we launched the club 2016 to 2017. We felt like we needed to have a Permanent home to be taken seriously. Sponsorship and Beer Sales are nearly impossible without a Stadium in my opinion.

When you initially started looking at designs, were you looking for something more permanent or something closer to modular stadium?

What we wanted was something more permanent and on land that we own and control.

If you’re able to, how many designs were presented to you in regards to the stadium?

I looked at several designs, and have been to many stadiums. I like the sight lines at Avaya in San Jose and places with soccer specific stadiums with stands right next to the action and that are steeper, like those in the UK. When you watch a game somewhere like that it is a much better viewing experience. So, we basically knew what we wanted and designed it accordingly. This was the only design we did, because we knew exactly what we wanted.

Everyone knows it gets ridiculously hot in Arizona. Are there plans to install cooling systems for the fans while they attend games?

Yes. The Sonoran Desert is hot for 4 months of the year. The rest of the year, it is great here. We will put up the shade canopies, for those 4 months and take them down for the other 8 months of the year. This is the same concept that we use here in Arizona to cover playgrounds. We do that and couple them with large cooling fans that will circulate Air throughout the stadium. The top of the awnings will have Solar Panels, which will allow for energy storage. All these things combined will cool the stadium down by 30 degrees.

Does the club have a youth academy already established? If not, are there plans to establish one and use the classrooms as part of the academy experience?

Yes. Definitely and it will be considered one of the Best in the US. It’s more of a European model which allows for the development of players, and then helps in getting them to Europe to go pro or college. We will have contacts in clubs, all over Europe and Asia to move players on. And we will have an excellent first team, as you can see from the current Conference standings, we always try and take the football to the next level.

If you’re able to answer this, what is the projected cost of the entire complex?

I'd rather not say. But, it's not as bad as you think. At the same time, we aren't asking for taxpayer money.

Lastly, your press release says you expect to break ground in early 2021. Is it possible to break ground sooner? How long will it take to complete?

Yes. Sooner the better. Hopefully, we can complete at least the fields by Middle of 2020. But, we like to be realistic with expectations.

- Shawn Laird

For more information on the stadium project, check out FC Arizona’s site.