Source: Woodbine Entertainment to provide land for soccer stadium, training facility

TORONTO – Woodbine Entertainment is partnering with private investors to build a soccer training facility and soccer-specific stadium. According to a source, Woodbine would designate land for the construction of the Venues.

TORONTO – Woodbine Entertainment is partnering with private investors to build a soccer training facility and soccer-specific stadium.

According to a source, Woodbine would designate land for the construction of the Venues. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity as there has been no formal announcement of the plan.

The project is still in the planning stages however the area in question remains available and construction could potentially be completed sometime in 2023. The soccer Venues would be located within walking distance of the Woodbine Racetrack.

The project would include a soccer-specific stadium and a 38,000 square foot training facility with a world-class grass surface that would meet the professional standards established by FIFA, soccer’s world-governing body.

Woodbine is situated on about 684 acres of land just over 30 kilometers north of downtown Toronto. Roughly 250 Acres is already earmarked for horse-racing (synthetic, grass and dirt racetracks as well as Stables for horses and employees).

Another key element of the soccer plan is the construction of a GO station at Woodbine. In 2019, the Ontario government unveiled plans to build a stop at Woodbine on the Kitchener GO rail line, with the province and Metrolinx partnering with Woodbine Entertainment.

Once completed, the Woodbine facilities would give the GTA two quality soccer Venues. BMO Field, home of the Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC and the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts, currently operates at Exhibition Place.

BMO Field can seat over 27,000 spectators for football and 30,000 for soccer but can also be expanded to 40,000. Its playing surface is hybrid grass.

The soccer-specific stadium at Woodbine is expected to have a seating capacity of 8,000. And that would be good news for York United FC, the Canadian Premier League franchise that currently plays its home games at York Lions Stadium on the campus of York University.

York United FC’s principal partner is Greenpark Group, a company specializing in residential and commercial construction in Canada, the US and Europe that’s owned by the Baldassarra family.

The venue could also be home to the Canadian Women’s Professional Squad. In addition, it could serve as a practice facility for the 2026 World Cup, which will be staged in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

The Canadian men’s squad can clinch a spot in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with a win over Costa Rica. Canada’s only previous trip to the men’s World Cup was in 1986 in Mexico.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 23, 2022.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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