One of the drawbacks to living in Canada is harsh winters. A soccer (or football) fan in South America can buy a ticket any month of the year to their favorite team’s games, a privilege that is just not possible as you travel further north.
Let’s face it: anyone trying to play soccer outdoors in Canada or the upper US during December or January is going to have more trouble than just figuring out which snowbank the ball landed in. But is there a solution? Or are those of us in colder climates stuck with kicking around balls of ice during those sub-zero months?
The KIA Training Ground
Toronto FC (or TFC) are a bourgeoning professional soccer club that competes in Major League Soccer. While Toronto is a great city, the year-round conditions for practice time outside are less than ideal. While the team had the option to head south for the winter to train, Toronto FC instead opted for a better solution.
Rather than spreading out its personnel and training areas to whatever spaces were available for rent or purchase, the popular soccer club embarked on an ambitious project to create a state of the art facility that would be all-encompassing to the team’s needs. Located in Downsview Park in North York and one of the most elaborate sports complexes of its kind, the KIA Training Ground dome was the ideal solution. The team christened the dome with its first practice session just this past winter.
Custom designed and constructed by the Farley Group, the training grounds dome is everything Toronto FC could need. Surfaced with Astroturf and expertly-illuminated, the enclosure simulates the conditions and temperature that the athletes would play in during a typical game day. Offering a training experience as close to an actual on-field experience as possible is important for the players’ conditioning and provides coaches and trainers with a much better idea of how they will perform when training concludes and an actual game begins.
Not Just for Pro Sports Teams
Custom-designed, air-supported structures such as these are a boon to professional sports teams like Toronto FC, but they offer considerable advantages for smaller leagues and franchises as well. The initial construction cost is considerably lower for such a semi-permanent building as opposed to one that needs to last for decades in order to justify the tremendous investment put forth.
Unlike traditional brick and mortar structures, domes can be dismantled and moved should the need arise.
Air-supported structures just makes sense for athletes that need an affordable, semi-permanent solution to hone their craft during even the coldest and snowiest days of winter.
Whitby Iroquois Soccer Club
The Whitby Iroquois Soccer Club is a perfect example. Geared to providing the perfect training program and playing area for people of all ages with a love of the game, the club utilizes a dome custom-designed by the Farley Group housing two playing fields, the organization’s offices, and a meeting room. Freed from seasonal weather restrictions, the club can operate year round and provide its members with optimal playing and training conditions.
Soccer players and fans hold a deep love of “the beautiful game” and the ability to play year-round is bringing the sport further north every year. Canada’s soccer culture is booming and part of the reason is because of training facilities like those designed by the Farley Group. Keeping the cold and ice at bay, and soccer balls flying, air-supported structures are the future for the most popular game in the world.