New youth soccer facilities coming to Cayce

A new partnership between the Congaree Rapid Soccer Association and Historic Columbia Speedway will give young soccer stars brand-new facilities to use in about a year.

The CRSA announced this week that a formal agreement was reached with the speedway, which is managed by Sellers & Son Holding Co. Specifics include a 10-year lease of land for “the development and use of a private soccer facility”, according to a news release. An additional 10-year option can take effect after 2023 if the two parties so desire.

More than 350 boys and girls are served by the CRSA, and the organization has 24 teams competing this fall in the S.C. Youth Soccer Association. Kids ages 8 to 18 in Cayce, West Columbia, Columbia and the surrounding smaller communities have been competing through the CRSA since its launch in 1993.

Cayce Mayor Elise Partin called the agreement a “major milestone” for CRSA.

“This is really phenomenal for Congaree Rapid since they’ve worked hard to find a home,” she said. “Soccer is a great sport. Anything that encourages teamwork is great for our kids.”

After decades of being home to half-mile stock-car racing, the Historic Columbia Speedway off Charleston Highway is known these days for hosting a myriad of outdoor community events. Charity walks, concerts, cycling fundraisers, movie nights and much more have been held at the venue.

Now, the 11.4-acre southern complex will be developed into four to six soccer fields that are expected to be ready by the fall of 2014. According to the CRSA, amenities will include Bermuda grass, concessions stands, grandstands, irrigation and restrooms.

CRSA teams currently practice and play at area schools, River Bluff Baptist Church and the West Columbia Soccer Complex.

Future plans for the CRSA range from club soccer and high school tournaments to clinics for kids at the new fields.

“This agreement will allow us to be a full-service soccer club, which we’ve always wanted to be,” said CRSA president Kevin Heise.

Partin added that she wouldn’t be surprised if the renovated facilities bring more development to the area.

“Businesses operate off of traffic flow, so this will definitely help in that regard,” she said.

Heise added that the CRSA will kick off a capital fundraising campaign soon to pay for the necessary renovations at the southern complex.