OLATHE, Kan. -- A new outdoor soccer complex in Olathe is up and running, and it's expected to attract millions of people from across the country.
Not too long ago, the area at K-10 and Ridgeview Road was one giant field. But now it's been turned into nine fields -- soccer fields, that is.
Kids have actually been playing on these fields since the fall, but the grand opening isn’t scheduled until March 1. Six of the fields are already complete; the other three are under construction. New hotels and restaurants are also under development nearby.
Heartland Soccer is running the new facility, which will be open year-round. They expect to attract more than 1.5 million people from all over the country to come here for soccer tournaments.
They said the synthetic turf they installed is literally the best in the world.
"These are state of the art, literally the best soccer turf that you can get in the world, and we have them right here in Olathe," said Shane Hackett, executive director of Heartland Soccer.
It cost around $40 million to build the outdoor soccer complex, and it's being paid for privately by the family that owns the land. No taxpayer dollars are being used though the project is benefiting from some tax breaks.
When construction is finished in a few weeks, the complex will have nine full-sized fields that can be turned into 18 smaller fields for younger children to play on.
The ultimate goal is to give kids of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to play soccer on a really nice surface.
"It’s one thing to have games. Another thing is where do you practice. So these are also, Monday through Thursday, where the kids get to practice," Hackett said. "You’ve got perfect quality surfaces and then to have the ability to have a space to actually play. That’s always the big thing."
This is the fourth all-turf soccer complex built in the metro in recent years, joining Overland Park, Wyandotte County and Swope Park. There's one more soccer complex soon to be built in Grandview.
And Heartland officials said that should provide all the fields needed for all the soccer being played here in the metro.