Construction on Enid’s new soccer complex will begin after a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday touted what’s reportedly the largest private-public partnership in the city’s history.

Phase two of the Enid Sports Association’s years-long project will start with building the clubhouse at the future Advance Soccer Complex, at 1526 S. Garland.

Mike Steinke, fundraising chair of the association and a volunteer soccer coach at Enid High School, called the planned 24,000-square-foot clubhouse the “crown jewel” of the complex.

The facility will include four locker rooms, a referee locker room, meeting rooms, coaches’ rooms, concessions, a multi-purpose training area and a futsal field.

Along with the clubhouse, the soccer complex itself will include seven full-size fields, all 120 by 75 yards: six with natural grass and one with artificial turf.

The championship turf field, seating 1,400 people, will feature a press box like the one located at Enid High’s D. Bruce Selby Stadium. The fields all will be lighted, allowing for play during cold weather, off season and at night, Steinke said. They also will be interchangeable in size to allow for children’s groups and teams from Enid High School and Enid Soccer Club.

The complex also will have a playground, water features and practice fields.

Steinke said despite the city’s “Herculean efforts” to maintain the current soccer facility, used primarily by Enid Soccer Club, the area is in a water retention pond.

After their company, Advance Foods, was sold to Tyson Foods several years ago, the Allen and McLaughlin families decided to pay back the community for their years of support with major donations to the project.

“Voila — the Advance Soccer Complex was born, the Enid Sports Association that oversees its development was created, and away we go,” Steinke said.

Paul Allen on Tuesday thanked the city for its support of his business that began as Advance Food Co.

“I could promise you one thing: We wouldn’t be here today if the city hadn’t been so much help for us. … in terms of plant locations,” Allen said. “Our company would’ve never had the success it had, had it not been for the city of Enid and all the great people in Enid.”

Dave McLaughlin said their experience with youth athletics is that “participation gets good results.”

“The biggest benefit is being part of a team,” he said.

Jarely Casillas, an Enid High School senior varsity soccer player, said she learned about the doors that open from kicking that soccer ball, which she’s been doing since she was 7.

“It’s crazy how fast time flies,” she said, as a speaker during Tuesday’s ceremony. “Three years ago as a freshman, I would not have been able to come up and speak.”

Steinke said ESA would submit an offer to host the NJCAA’s Division II national tournament at the complex once it’s hopefully completed by next year.


He said NJCAA reps have told him the city would book around 1800 hotel room nights during the seven-day tournament.

Enid City Manager Jerald Gilbert said the project reminded him of his time in the National Guard, specifically the motto “Unusual efforts expended.”

Gilbert said the new complex would be not only a great quality-of-life asset, but bring in major revenue.

“Where else can you invest about $12 million and get a $4 million return?” he asked.

Fundraising coordinator Nicole Winfield said the project had raised $4 million in the nine months since fundraising began in October, surpassing $3.5 million needed to meet the total $9.5 million goal.

The project is now taking donations, ranging from $100 to $1,000, for adding names to bricks to be placed in the entry archway.

The city of Enid has also covered $3 million in construction expenses, while the Allen and the McLaughlin Family foundations had each donated $1.5 million.

City commissioners on Tuesday approved a change order totaling $520,000 for more concrete pavement construction costs on the complex’s south parking lot and driveway.

The total contract on transportation improvements with North Central Construction would come to $2.3 million.

The final plat on the complex land was approved two weeks ago.

The soccer complex project is still expected to be completed in September 2022, Winfield said Monday. The construction project to this point has been in phase one, which has mostly focused on infrastructure work.

Article by: Alex Ewald – ENE 8.3.21

Photo by: Billy Hefton