An article on The International Soccer Development Center with President John Davies as recently featured in the Houston Chronicle.

Can A City Become A Soccer Mecca?Houston Chronicle Article - ISDC

By CHRISTY WOOTEN, CHRONICLE CORRESPONDENT

Published 03:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 25, 2011

International soccer could be coming to Alvin.

Alvin City Council this month approved an economic development agreement with International Soccer Development Center LLC to build a 60-acre complex on FM 528 near the city’s boundary with Friendswood. Plans for the facility near Fox Meadow Drive include 11 soccer fields, a stadium field, restaurant, a 10,000-square-foot welcome center, five half-size practice fields and a hotel, ISDC President John Davies said.

“It’s going to be a wonderful project for the kids of Alvin, for the families of Alvin.” said Davies, a former professional soccer player.

If the Missouri City-based ISD completes its part of the deal regarding the $22 million project, the city has agreed to rebate a portion of site’s property taxes equal to $168,000 over a five- to 10-year period, according to information from Larry Buehler, the city’s economic development director. The development is projected to eventually employ 175 full-time workers with average salaries of $32,500.

The facility would be the company’s first, said Cheri Skelton, a consultant for ISD. “The reaction from the community has been very, very positive, overwhelmingly positive,” Buehler said, “The mayor and council are very excited about it moving forward.”

The complex will be built in phases, Skelton said. The first phase will provide 12 soccer fields, one of which will eventually become the stadium. That phase also would include construction of utilities, concession stands, parking lots, the welcome center and a detention pond.

Construction is projected to start early 2012.

“We are hoping to start in January or February,” Davies said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff to do still.”

“We hope to have that (phase) completed by the end of July so we can start bringing international competition and national competitions to the area,” Skelton said. “We start the second phase closer to the end of 2012.”

The second phase will add a restaurant, additional parking and the half-size practice fields and should include finishing touches on the stadium. A hotel would be built in the third year.

ISDC hopes to host one international tournament and four to five national tournaments. It also intends to provide kids soccer camps, each consisting of 1,400 children, in between other events during the first year.

International competitions should bring around 1,000 teams and national competitions could draw 500 to 700, Skelton said.

Other communities should reap the benefits from the facility, Buehler said.

“If you think about its location, even though it’s in the city, it’s regional in nature,” he said of the planned complex.

Davies, who coaches for the Space City Futbol Club in League City, said the company looked at Friendswood and other places before reaching the deal with Alvin. “Friendswood turned it down,” Skelton said. “They didn’t want it.”

“Alvin was very welcoming to us, just opened armed,” she said. “We were more than happy to go to Alvin with it.”

“Alvin officials figure their community will benefit in multiple ways.

“Certainly with the increased activities coming into the city, that generates sales tax, be it restaurants, hotels, (or) people shopping and buying gasoline,” Buehler said.

In addition to creating jobs, the facility will draw residents, Buehler said.

Davies, a native of Scotland, said he has worked for several companies doing similar projects around the world. He played professional soccer for about 20 years, earning various honors. He has been a FIFA-qualified sport agent since 2006.

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