Virginia Beach Sportsplex
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009)|
|Location||2181 Landstown Road
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456
|Owner||City of Virginia Beach|
|Capacity||6,000 (expandable to 17,000)|
|Surface||PowerBlade HP 2.0SR by Sportexe|
|Construction cost||$6.8 million US$|
|Virginia Beach City FC (National Premier Soccer League) (2014-present)|
The Virginia Beach Sportsplex is a sports complex in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The name is most commonly attached to the main stadium within the complex, which opened in 1999. It has a permanent seating capacity of 6,000, on two decks of seating, though it can be expanded upwards to 17,000 for American football games. It was the first soccer-specific stadium built from the ground up in the United States. It is named after Harold Heischober, former mayor and city councilman of Virginia Beach. The Sportsplex is located across the street from the Princess Anne Athletic Complex and near the Virginia Beach Amphitheater.
The main stadium was the home field of the Hampton Roads Piranhas, a women's team in the W-League, which became the de facto top women's league in the country after the demise of the Women's United Soccer Association. It was originally their home from 1999 to 2002. In 2003 the Piranhas moved their home games to a smaller stadium on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan College near the city's border with Norfolk. It was also the home field for the Virginia Beach Mariners (USL-I) and the Virginia Beach Submariners (PDL). In 2007, the franchise was terminated, and as a result the Piranhas acquired the Submariners and renamed them as the Piranhas, a reflection of their women's team. Both teams played at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex for the 2010 season of the W-League and the Premier Development League. The stadium is now the home office for the Virginia Rush Organization as well as the home venue for its U16 and U18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. It is also home to the Norfolk Blues rugby team and Southern Virginian Trojans semi-pro football team. Despite its background as a soccer-specific venue, the stadium's best known usage was as host of the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League, which played two abbreviated seasons at the Sportsplex and for whom the stadium's capacity was doubled to accommodate professional sized crowds.
In 2009 the city of Virginia Beach turned over the Sportsplex to a private firm, Hometown Sports Management, who changed the soccer-only Bermuda grass field over to a more durable multi-sport friendly turf and plans to pave the parking lot, build a fieldhouse, as well as carry out other upgrades.
On November 10, 2010, the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League announced their home games would be played at the Sportsplex starting in Fall 2011. The UFL added temporary bleacher seating (recycled from the 2011 U.S. Open golf tournament) to expand the stadium to between 14,000 and 17,000 seats depending on demand. The Destroyers first game drew almost 13,000 fans to see a 34–17 Virginia win.
The Destroyers set an attendance record for the Sportsplex when 14,172 fans overflowed the stadium for the 2011 UFL Championship Game, which they won over the Las Vegas Locomotives, requiring the stadium to accommodate for standing room.
Along with the rest of the league, the Destroyers' attendance dropped precipitously during the 2012 season, prompting the league to again cut short its season; the Destroyers' business license expired March 1, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Virginia Beach Sportsplex.|
- Sportsplex Stadium info
- Streit, John (August 13, 2009). "New Tenants, Turf Headed For Sportsplex". Rourk Public Relations, via The Virginian Pilot. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- "USA Field Hockey National Training Center at Virginia Beach". U.S. Field Hockey. 2005. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
- "Virginia Destroyers' New Coach and President is Joe Moglia". Virginian Pilot. 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
- Fairbank, Dave (June 11, 2011). UFL's Destroyers enter home stretch of preparation with training camp a month away. Daily Press. Retrieved June 11, 2011.