There are many things soccer clubs can do to enhance their connection with their local community. Sometimes, all you need is a change in scenery.
The SC United Bantams will be taking that step during the 2018 PDL season, with the club recently announcing a new home venue in the South Carolina United Soccer Center at Monticello Road. The new complex is centrally located in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, and provides the Bantams with a much closer connection to their fans, local families and tourists in the area.
“The move into our new complex for the 2018 PDL season takes our program to a whole new level,” said Bantams Head Coach Lee Morris. “We can now provide top-class fields for all practices and game days. We have the ability to run all our off-field recovery sessions, prehab, rehab and conditioning in our soccer-specific weight room, on location each day. We have an outdoor five-a-side court for multi-purpose high tempo practices, and all of this is within the city limits, right on the doorstep of our soccer community in Columbia and close to our city’s vibrant downtown scene that our fans and tourists coming to town love.
“On top of the facilities, our game day experience should dramatically improve as well. Our new Bantams Beer Garden coupled with our ‘Around the World in Seven Games’ game-day events will make each PDL match experience more fun for the players, our fans and our community as a whole.”
After competing in 2017 at Irmo High School, the move to a new facility heralds a new era for the Bantams. The SC United Soccer Center boasts numerous new features in addition to its central location that make it a one-of-a-kind youth facility. The facility features five full-sized, lighted, natural grass soccer fields - two of which are stadium fields boasting elevated, handicap-accessible bleachers, locker rooms, concessions, offices and more. The move to a more central location in Columbia will make the Bantams more accessible to fans, no matter their location in the city.
“As CEO of South Carolina United, I am extremely proud of what we have been able to plan, design, construct and open for our coaches, our players, their families and our community as a whole,” said SCU CEO Ron Tryon. “Built in a Community Reinvestment Act area, we have not only created a valuable asset for our players’ development, we are playing our part in creating bona fide economic development all around us and that is truly exciting. To be able to host our flagship SC United Bantams team within it is a huge step forwards for our club. This summer our home match promotional theme will be ‘Around the World in Seven Games’ which will feature seven different internationally themed nights complete with food and beer vendors who specialize in serving each countries’ cuisine - all of whom are based here in Columbia. Bringing together people from different backgrounds and cultures to celebrate the fantastic game - nothing can be better.”
The Bantams kicked off their PDL season this past week with a 4-2 win over Deep South Division rival Peachtree City MOBA. They’ll continue on the road on Sat. May 26 against South Georgia Tormenta FC before finally hosting their home-opener on June 2 against the Tri-Cities Otters.