Madrid inspires training centre

NEW BASE: Southern Expansion's proposed training centre to be built at Lucas Heights. Picture: POPULOUS
NEW BASE: Southern Expansion's proposed training centre to be built at Lucas Heights. Picture: POPULOUS

Southern Expansion plan to build a $50 million high-performance training and sports science centre at Lucas Heights which draws inspiration from La Liga giants Real Madrid’s training facility.

Southern, representing the St George district, Sutherland Shire and Football South Coast, put forward their final submission to the FFA to be part of the A-League’s expansion on Friday, with seven other bids also in the running.

Part of that submission includes plans, unveiled on Saturday, for a state of the art training centre to be located on several hectares of lands adjacent to ANSTO’s main science and technology campus. The project is expected to take two years to build, with Southern planning to use updated facilities at Kareela until construction is complete.

The plans feature 10 grass and synthetic playing fields and futsal courts, hotel accommodation, sports science and medical research facilities, office space, pools, gyms and hydrotherapy recovery areas, a media broadcast hub, parking and pedestrian access and a 500-seat mini stadium.

Southern’s head of football Craig Foster said the centre was unique to the club and would become a major community asset – and had taken inspiration from arguably the greatest club in world football.

“Whilst it utilises a visual, spinal design model similar to Real Madrid, the real difference is that it’s open and accessible to the community, with digital connectivity allowing players, coaches, staff, fans and visitors all to interact on site,” he said.

“It’s fundamentally important that everyone has access to our professional male and female players and that’s an underlying principle for Southern, as we work in and with our community.

“For the first time in any sporting code in Australia we’re going to provide equal quality and quantity of facilities and opportunities for our male and female players. 

“For too long Australia’s female footballers, even our world-beating Matildas, have missed out. And we are determined to change that.”

A final decision on expansion will be made before the end of October. Southern are up against South West Sydney-Macarthur, Wollongong Wolves, Melbourne’s Team 11, South Melbourne, Western Melbourne Group, Ipswich Pride and Canberra.