The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday morning in favor of converting five fields at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson to professional grade soccer pitches, giving new Premier Development League franchise FC Tucson a home to play its matches in this its inaugural season.
One field will become the home of FC Tucson and will be surrounded by 2,000 bleacher seats. The other four -- used for Major League Soccer teams during preseason training -- will go back and forth from season to season as both baseball and soccer fields. At least for the foreseeable future.
FC Tucson was a key part of organizing the Desert Diamond Cup in February and March, a four-team tournament featuring MLS clubs played at Kino Stadium. Attendance per two-game session averaged better than 7,500 fans.
The vote represents a big step in the growth of high-level soccer in Arizona. The folks in Tucson appear to have some pretty lofty goals as far as the future of soccer in their town -- winning Tuesday could make it possible for the city to host more such tournaments and more teams for preseason training as soon as next January, in addition to giant youth tournaments at the amateur level.
FC Tucson's first-ever match as a PDL franchise (part of the U.S. Soccer pyramid of development) is May 5 in Fresno against the Fresno Fuego. The home opener will be at Kino on May 19 (assuming the sod takes hold and the pitch is playable) against the Southern California Seahorses at 7 p.m.