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Jan 23, 2013 8:44 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Expansion of Kino Sports Complex hopes to create soccer hub

TUCSON - There's a new effort to make Tucson a western hub for major league soccer, which could bring a much needed to boost to the area surrounding the Kino Sports Complex.

Plans to build a 2,000-seat shaded soccer stadium was unveiled today.

A partnership with Pima County and F.C. Tucson, this $2 million investment will bring a new scoreboard, a stadium, additional concessions and restrooms, as well as the addition of a sixth field.

For the past three years the Sporting Kansas City soccer team has been just one major league soccer club to call Tucson their pre-season home.

"Extremely enthusiastic about coming to Tucson," said Kurt Austin, of the Sporting Kansas City team which traveled to Tucson for two weeks.

Taking advantage of the warmer weather each year, they regularly drop about $100,000 into the local economy.

"They've continued to come back here because of the accommodations, the amenities provided by not just F.C. Tucson but also the local community and the support that we've gotten," Austin said.

With the new plan for expansion of the Kino Sports Complex, soccer advocates expect a big boom in busines locally.

"As we build, add more events...demonstrate that we're a 365-day company and add events, I think you'll see businesses grow," said Chris Keeney, the Business Chief for F.C. Tucson.

It's that kind of investment toward the future that has teams like Sporting Kansas City settled in.

"I think that's why the team is so optimistic and hopeful to make this our real pre-season home, where we can come back year after year and really make it our pre-season presence," Austin said.

The entire project is expected to be complete by October 2013, so it will be ready in time for next season.

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