LAFC’s plan to spend $30 million on a training complex on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles would make it the third-largest investment in a practice facility in Major League Soccer history.
Only Atlanta United and Real Salt Lake, who spent $60 million apiece, invested more. Atlanta, which joined MLS this season, opened its complex in April while Real Salt Lake’s new training home will be at least partly ready this fall.
The Cal State University Board of Trustees approved LAFC’s ambitious proposal Wednesday.
To build its complex, LAFC will renovate Cal State L.A.’s stadium and construct fields, locker rooms, sports medicine facilities and office space for coaches and staff as well for the club’s youth development teams.
The facility will be designed by Gensler Sports, the same firm that handled the plans for Banc of California Stadium at Exposition Park, where the team will begin play next summer. The Cal State L.A. facility will have a natural-grass practice field identical to the one at Banc of California Stadium.
The project will be completely financed by LAFC. Hunt Construction Group will serve as the construction management company on the two-story facility.
“Cal State L.A. is the perfect home for our team, and this plan affirms our commitment to building our future with the youth of Los Angeles,” Tom Penn, LAFC’s president and a co-owner of the club, said in a statement. “We look forward to developing world-class players and talent for decades to come at Cal State L.A.”
LAFC has been using Cal State L.A. as a training base for its youth teams since January 2016. The new facility will cement that relationship, said John Thorrington, the team’s general manager and executive vice-president of soccer operations.
“This training facility is unparalleled and uniquely Los Angeles,” he said. “The building itself incorporates innovative indoor-outdoor spaces and is unlike anything I’ve seen the world over. The central location is ideal for our academy programming, and our ownership’s investment enables us to align our soccer operation from LAFC’s MLS team to our Academy.”
Along with building its practice facility at Cal State L.A., LAFC has pledged an additional $1.5 million contribution to the university, which comes on the heels of a $100,000 gift it made to the school’s athletic department last fall.
“This project will create a great deal of excitement on our campus and will connect Cal State L.A. to partners who share a commitment to our students,” university president William A. Covino said. “The benefits of this partnership to Cal State LA and the region we serve will surely multiply over time.”
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