Edmonton’s Scottish Society hopes to alleviate some of the demand for indoor soccer fields by building a massive sports dome in the southern part of the city.
“This will be the biggest sportsdome in Canada. It’s 135,000 square feet,” said general manager Antony Bent.
The project has been in the works for three years, but construction got underway just a few weeks ago.
“Edmonton’s a winter city and we need appropriate places for our young and old athletes to train and compete in the winter months,” said Scottish United’s technical director, Kevin Poissant.
Demand for soccer fields in Edmonton has been growing for years.
“There’s so much frustration with more and more people playing soccer and less and less time available in any of the soccer facilities,” long-time Angels coach Stuart Brown explained.
The dome will include four smaller soccer fields, fit for seven-per-side matches. Together, they can be combined as one, full size outdoor field – big enough to host professional and national level games.
The ‘7v7’ game is more similar to outdoor soccer than the boarded indoor game currently played at the city’s three soccer centres.
“7v7 for the indoor game is the preferred model for Canada Soccer and in Alberta we’re starting to see that style of play being embraced,” Poissant said.
He added training more consistently year-round will enhance player skill.
“That could potentially have an impact, for many years to come, on Canada’s ability to maintain it’s position as a leader in women’s soccer, perhaps see our men’s team qualify for the World Cup. This is a small piece of the puzzle.”
The Scottish Society owns 21 acres of land in South Edmonton. It started out with just one soccer field and later expanded to six. This marks a new chapter for the group, that thinks they’re well-positioned for growth.
“We sit near the Anthony Henday, Calgary Trail, Gateway Boulevard, the new trail that connects to 41 Avenue. So around greater Edmonton, people can access our location in under 30 minutes,” he explained.
The Scottish Society isn’t sparing any expense on the turf, either.
“The product is called CORE and the research behind it has been very favourable in terms of reducing mechanical injuries, like ankles and knees, as well as reducing concussions,” Poissant said.
Soccer isn’t the only sport that will be played in the new venue.
“This is going to be a multi-sport facility. Whether it’s rugby or ultimate, could be flag football, could be cricket,” Poissant said.
The Scottish Society hopes the dome will be used year-round.
“If the weather’s bad, we can move inside,” said Bent. “The advantage is there’s no mosquitos, there’s no sun cream, there’s no rain.”
The Edmonton Soccer Dome is expected to cost $7 million, with city grants covering $2.9 million and the society taking out a mortgage on the rest.
It’s scheduled to open in late January.
“There’s a lot of advantages to a dome,” Bent explained. “Obviously it’s quicker and easier to put up. It’s a temporary structure, so you can move it if you want. It can come up and down in bad weather. It lends itself to sports more because of the height.”
The dome will also include a two lane running track and spectator seating for over 700 fans.
There is currently one other sportsdome in Edmonton, but it’s being used for ball-hockey.
Bent said getting the dome built is phase one of a three phase project at the Scottish Society. Next, the group plans to renovate their bathroom and change room facilities, then connect them to the banquet hall. Finally, the entire parcel of land will be re-landscaped to fit in as many outdoor fields as possible.