The Community Notices
“We could not be more pleased about an organization of this caliber choosing to be a tenant at the sports complex,” said Rex Jensen, president and CEO of SMR. “This is just the beginning of an exciting initiative that will change the face of this region forever and create a sports mecca that will attract countless numbers of visitors and inject millions of dollars into our local economy for years to come.”
One of the oldest competitive clubs in the Southeast, The Clearwater Chargers organization was established in 1975. Since then it has grown to be the premier club on the west coast of Florida and one of the top clubs in the United States. The Chargers have won 150 state championships.
“This is huge,” said Tim Mulqueen, Lakewood Ranch’s director of sports. “It will give children in our area access to top coaching and training. It offers kids an opportunity to play at every level—recreational, competitive and U.S. Development Academy Soccer —under the direction of some of the best coaches in youth soccer.”
The Chargers club currently uses four facilities in Clearwater, with just nine different fields. Having access to the large number of state-of-the-art fields in Lakewood Ranch was a deciding factor in coming to the Ranch. “The fields here are unlike any others in the state,” said Robert O’Nan, president of the Clearwater Chargers. “In addition, the central location—close to hotels, restaurants and shops—coupled with the impeccable maintenance and condition of the 22 available fields, makes this the perfect place for us to expand and grow.”
Tryouts for the soccer academy will take place on May 4, tryouts for the competitive team will take place on May 31, and The Chargers will form a recreational league this fall for children ages 4 to 19. The Chargers plan to now bid on state cup championships to bring to the Lakewood Ranch complex and already have plans for tournaments on Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
The Chargers will eventually have offices on site and will begin by hosting the Florida Youth Soccer Association tournament on April 30, bringing 64 teams in for the inaugural event at the complex.
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