Originally opening in 1998 for baseball spring training, the Kino Sports Complex has undergone an evolution since the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox departed for complexes in the Phoenix area. Many of the field surrounding Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium have been converted for soccer, and the complex hosts MLS spring training as well as FC Tucson of the Premier Development League.
Preseason for the MLS in particular has been a major success, with 12 teams set to head to Tucson in the coming weeks for the Desert Friendlies and the Desert Diamond Cup. That, combined with the success of tournaments such as the Tucson Association of Realtors Shootout, has given the Kino Sports Complex a vibrant soccer scene.
Seeing the success of these events, area officials are mulling the possibility of expansion. Along with providing more space for tournaments and events, officials are envisioning a slate of mixed-use amenities that would serve the complex. More from News 4 Tucson:
A plan proposed by the county would expand Kino to a 167 acre plot of land that it already owns south of Interstate 10. The plans include more hotels, fields, a stadium and even a water park.
Ted Schmidt, President of Tucson Soccer Academy, says Tucson is constantly losing these high economic impact tournaments to Phoenix and this new stadium would help bring them down south.
“I’ve been assured that if we had that location here we would be getting these tournaments on a regular basis,” said Schmidt.
The County estimates that he proposed $57.8 million project would create $109 million in economic benefits within five years.
News 4 does not report a timeline for a possible expansion.
Image courtesy FC Tucson.