Today marks a new chapter for UBC and its sports facilities, as the school officially opened its National Soccer Development Centre — a sprawling training facility for the Thunderbird and Whitecaps soccer teams.
To mark the opening of the facility, UBC President Santa Ono participated in a scrimmage with UBC sports camp participants, varsity athletes, and the Whitecaps and UBC mascots.
Ravi Kahlon, BC parliamentary secretary for sport and multiculturalism and Bob Lenarduzzi, Vancouver Whitecaps FC president, were also in attendance.
The centre, funded primarily by the provincial government and the Whitecaps, boasts a 38,000-square-foot fieldhouse and five fields. The fieldhouse itself includes a two-storey weight room and a hydrotherapy-equipped sports science wing, among other features.
Overall, the 473,600-square-foot facility will be available for use by UBC varsity athletes, community sports and recreation organizations and all of the Whitecaps teams.
In 2015, The Ubyssey spoke with representatives from both Whitecaps FC and UBC Athletics. Both camps were excited about the prospect of combining forces. For UBC, it provides another big pull for future varsity athletes.
“We’re looking to bring the top soccer players in the country,” said Kavie Toor, UBC senior director of facilities, recreation and sport partnerships in an interview with The Ubyssey in 2015. “Having the National Soccer Development Centre as a link with the Whitecaps will be a tremendous interest to perspective students.”
The Whitecaps already started using the space earlier this summer, breaking in the facility before the start of the school year. Their wait for the space has been longstanding, as discussions around building this type of facility have been going on for over a decade.
The National Soccer Development Centre sits just off Wesbrook Mall, adjacent to the similarly shiney and new UBC Baseball Training Centre opened in 2015.
Together, that corner of UBC’s sports complex is valued at over $32 million.
With files from Matt Langmuir