Family to build soccer complex (VIDEO)

Keldy  Ortiz

July 12, 2013 at 2:12 a.m.
Updated July 13, 2013 at 2:13 a.m.

San Antonio and Austin are home to various soccer facilities and tournaments.

A family in the Crossroads hopes to change that.

Thirteen new soccer fields, along with an indoor soccer facility, will be built in the Crossroads in the next few months.

Construction on the soccer fields is scheduled to begin at the end of July and will be completed sometime in August, said Dora Salazar, who will assist with administrative duties at the new facility. Her husband, Alfredo Salazar Jr., will also contribute in handling administrative duties.

Construction of the indoor soccer complex would begin in early 2014.

The facility will be family owned, according to Salazar, by herself, her husband and her son.

The goal, she said, is to bring soccer to the community, something that has been lacking.

"We don't have a nice soccer facility like a sports complex," Salazar, who works as a peer counselor at the Women, Infants and Children office in Victoria, said. "We want to bring competitive soccer back to Victoria. We should be drawing them to us. Right now, Victoria is booming. We should be able to house 50 to 60 teams."

Salazar and her husband purchased 27.5 acres in the 5000 block of Lone Tree Road in March 2012. Since then, they have been in talks with corporations for potential sponsorships.

She estimated the project would cost upwards of $500,000, and the facility will have above-ground irrigation.

While she has some experience in business management, Salazar has been seeking advice from the Small Business Administration to develop a business plan. That way, she can approach businesses for sponsorship with a business plan already in place.

Salazar explained that she approached economic development groups in the community but was turned away.

She thought the city would be open to the idea but didn't receive the support she anticipated.

"It made me feel like they don't care about sports. If you get tournaments going in any sport, you're going to attract people," she said. "I think it would be an advantage to a city, to leave their dollars here. It was disappointing that they didn't care."

In February 2012, the city of Victoria Parks and Recreation conducted a community survey. Based on that survey, soccer fields for youth were listed 21st while soccer fields for adults were listed 26th out of 29 facility priorities.

Kevin Stewart, assistant director of parks and recreation in Victoria, has not heard about a new facility being constructed. Stewart explained that people from the community are welcome to bring proposals for construction.

"It would provide more people an opportunity to play," he said. "We would be in favor of someone building a facility."

Tournament fees - they hope to hold four tournaments when the complex opens - and professional training for coaches will be how the facility makes a profit. The proposed fields would have outdoor lighting.

Salazar's son, Alexis, 25, grew up playing soccer with his brothers and sisters. He knows plenty of other kids fail to reach their full potential. With this new facility, soccer players in the Crossroads can be homegrown and not have leave to get training elsewhere, he said.

"I just want soccer to progress in Victoria. Victoria has always had good soccer players, but when players reach 12 years old, they stop developing because there are not enough knowledgeable coaches," the former Texas A&M International soccer player said. "I love that parents are willing to sacrifice to help their children, but the parents themselves are still trying to learn soccer. There is a lot more to just kicking the ball."

Alexis is currently a soccer coach in the community, but when the complex gets built, he will become the director of coaching at the facility with the hope of opening an academy. He wants to bring in former professional soccer players to help teach kids.

Adrian Rigby has coached men's and women's soccer at UHV for three years. Rigby said he always looks for talent in the area, either through holding summer camps or scouting players, but he said the creation of the complex could help in the search for players.

"We always look in the region for the best talent. Hopefully, it can attract some big club teams," Rigby said. "It's really about getting professional training that will match a player's athletic ability as well."

Robert Ysaguirre, 38, is a coach for the Victoria Football Club Hurricanes, a soccer academy in Victoria, and a founding member of the organization. Ysaguirre said the soccer facility will be a good way to attract area talent and hold competitive tournaments.

"It would be something perfect for the boys and girls of Victoria. These fields would be open to whoever wants to use them," Ysaguirre said. "It would help the talent of Victoria get better. If we can get these fields opened up, it would get kids on to the field to become better players."

The soccer facility will be a family business, but the goal is to help soccer grow.

"I want to bring a major complex to where kids are excited to come and play soccer," Alexis said. "When I was younger playing with VYSO (Victoria Youth Soccer Organization), I couldn't wait till Saturday to come to play soccer. That's what I want for kids."



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