Saint-Laurent soccer teams finally have a place to call home. It has been just over one month since the Saint-Laurent Sports Complex opened its doors to the public, and the community could not be happier.
A bunch of excited tweens get ready to hit the field while the full-sized « football pitch » is being transformed into two smaller sections by the three workers moving the massive curtains that divide the field.
« That is just one configuration – we can divide the full-size pitch (90′ by 64′) into two half fields or three separate ones! » The voice belongs to a familiar face for Montreal Impact fans, Rocco Placentino, who now uses his soccer acumen as the technical director of Canadian club CS Saint-Laurent.
There is a lot of excitement around the new facility, and Rocco’s pride is evident. « It offers the players and parents of Saint-Laurent a central location to bring their kids, » he explains. « They used to have to travel to rented fields all over Montreal, but now the Saint-Laurent Soccer Club finally has a home of its own! »
The highly publicized Complex has had many hurdles to overcome. The fact that players are on the field enjoying themselves and seeing “home” team score boards on the walls certainly eases some of the past wounds.
Some scars remain, though. The 2012 decision by the Quebec Federation of Soccer to alter the official size of pitches that can host AAA games and the higher levels of play was announced when the Complex was well under construction and the new regulation field size was unattainable. As the Federation would not grandfather the existing field, the complex is now restricted to hosting lower level matches.
But Rocco does not care. « It’s not the end of the world. It was built with the community in mind. It is here for the parents and kids in Saint-Laurent to have their own home field. And besides, our AAA teams can still hold practices here. »
Most importantly, local families are happy. For many years they were forced to race to fields outside of Saint-Laurent, missing dinners and being late for games and practices. Now there is a facility in the heart of their borough.
Within the next few weeks, Rocco and the other Canadian club CS Saint-Laurent staff and management will set up offices in the spaces adjacent to the field where they hope to welcome players and parents, as well as centralise the entire office. Once settled, they will begin the process of planning more practices, clinics, competitions, tournaments and camps for throughout the year, without having to worry about winter or adverse conditions.
Rocco is convinced that the winning tradition of the Saint-Laurent teams will continue in this new home, and that having an indoor field offers a host of possibilities.
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