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Posted September 22, 2021 | 4:38 PM

Tournament SportsPlex has Game

Hillsborough County's multisport complex draws athletes and their entourages

The Tournament SportsPlex is fulfilling its mission as a mecca for young athletes and a generator of goodwill and prosperity for Hillsborough County.

The multisport championship facility between Tampa and Brandon has attracted elite tournaments such as USA Field Hockey's National Hockey Festival and the Ambassador Cup lacrosse competition. The U.S.A. Women's Soccer Team worked out at the SportsPlex, and the complex hosted preseason training for Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire and FC Dallas, among other tournaments and events.

It's an easy drive from the SportsPlex to Tampa International Airport, Busch Gardens, Disney World, the Gulf beaches, and interstates 75, 275, and 4. But the real draw is the complex itself. There are 15 fields including a championship field, LED lights, scoreboards, bleachers, locker rooms, a covered food court, permanent restrooms, Wi-Fi availability, and plenty of parking, among other amenities.

The National Hockey Festival took place at the facility in 2019. It will be back in November. "USA Field Hockey is thrilled to return to the Tournament SportsPlex of Tampa Bay," says Madeline Hoeppner, the organization's manager of Senior Events and Club Services. "The complex's fields and amenities are unparalleled and create a great event atmosphere."

The Tampa Bay area is a fantastic destination for players, their parents, and fans, Hoeppner says.

Strawberries
USA Field Hockey, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, draws a crowd at the 2019 National Hockey Festival. The national field hockey tournament returns to Hillsborough County in November. Photo provided by USA Field Hockey.

The "tournament only" SportsPlex spreads across 65 acres owned by Hillsborough County along Columbus Drive, between Falkenburg Road and U.S. 301. Completed in late 2018, the $17 million project is a collaboration among Hillsborough County, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, and the Tampa Sports Authority, which manages the complex.

Fields can be configured to accommodate many sports.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected activity at the SportsPlex. "In all we did lose a good number of events but have really picked back up in 2021," says Steve Reed, who directs the complex for the Tampa Sports Authority.

The Sportsplex has hosted 76 events including professional and amateur soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, rugby, flag football, 7 vs. 7 football, and Ultimate Frisbee. The events have brought some 42,000 out-of-town guests to the area, accounting for about 54,000 overnight stays at local hotels.

Top photo: Athletes compete during the 2019 National Hockey Festival at Tournament SportsPlex. Photo provided by USA Field Hockey.

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