A packed Edmonton Soccer Dome receives sponsorship boost
Posted on Jan 16, 2019 by Brad McCabe

Antony Bent, general manager of the Edmonton Soccer Dome, was commended for his work having the facility booked near capacity through the first few months of operation.

Bent joked he probably deserved a raise, but was unlikely to get one working for the Edmonton Scottish Society.

Scottish frugalness teasing aside, the society should be commended for changing the winter landscape of soccer in the city with the facility, which received a boost with Brookfield Residential coming on board as a title sponsor.

“It’s pretty much full with the league play and training and not just soccer, we have rugby, lacrosse, football, baseball, every field sport you can think of we’re booking in here,” Bent said. “The advantage of this place is that it’s not confined, it’s such an open space, that we can format the field to the sport that we want.”

The 12,540-square-metre structure commissioned by the Edmonton Scottish Society and located on their grounds at Grant MacEwan Park on the south end of the city, officially opened in October. It is the largest of its kind in Canada.

“The next step in Phase 2 is to build a clubhouse to support the facility,” Bent said. “We currently run out of the original clubhouse we have and it’s clearly inadequate. Hopefully, we break ground this year on Phase 2 and it’ll be a multi-functioning area with 12 dressing rooms, a sports science room, a new banquet hall, a new bar and a concession. A proper world-class building to support a world-class facility.”

Brookfield Residential, a North American land developer and homebuilder headquartered in Calgary, entered into a five-year sponsorship agreement with the dome for an undisclosed, but ‘significant’ investment. The facility will be official named The Edmonton Soccer Dome presented by Brookfield Residential.

“Bringing Brookfield on so early to have a presenting sponsor allows us to continue the way we are going and gives us some stability for the future,” Bent said. “It helps us with staff to provide a better service, it helps us get the proper equipment we need. It just helps us make this facility better.”

Over 400 teams use the facility on a weekly basis. It is running close to 93 per-cent capacity. The original goal was to run it at approximately 70 per-cent capacity.

“We didn’t have facilities like this when I was growing up,” said local professional player Tosaint Ricketts, who was on hand for the sponsorship announcement Tuesday. “We had to play the boarded game and we couldn’t even wear our soccer cleats in the winter, which creates obstacles for a lot of Edmonton players growing up.

“Unfortunately, a lot of us had to leave to go to other countries, other places and other environments to get the proper training in order to reach that level that we all aspire to reach.”

Ricketts, 31, who is a member of the Canadian national team and most recently played in Major League Soccer with Toronto FC, went to Chile to train with professional side Santiago Wanderers when still in high school. He went on to have a lengthy professional career in Europe before returning to North America.

“Facilities like this will now be the main training ground in order to be able to train year round,” Ricketts said. “Edmonton really needs it.”

Traditionally during the winter months, soccer is played indoors in Edmonton in a hybrid hockey-version of the game. Edmonton has three major indoor facilities and a number of smaller facilities in the surrounding area.

The Soccer Dome is providing another option more inline with the traditional game.

“Kids need to see Canadian pro players like Alphonso Davies and see that they can be there too and they can play at the highest level, and can reach the greatest leagues in the world from here in Edmonton,” Ricketts said. “Facilities like this will be the growth of that.”

Article by Derek Van Diest as posted on Canada.com
Organizations connected to this article
Brookfield Properties Corporation

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