Stoney Creek’s Players Paradise indoor soccer facility reopens under new name and new ownership

Opinion Jan 29, 2020 by Scott Radley The Hamilton Spectator

The news that the indoor soccer facility once known as Players Paradise is back in business as a footy palace — after a brief hiatus during which it was supposed to be turned into a medical marijuana grow operation — is being loudly cheered by the local soccer community.

More sheltered fields mean more opportunities for games and practices in Canada's tough winters. Which means more people potentially playing. So the revival of what's now United Soccer Centre Hamilton is a godsend for local players and associations.

"It's absolutely essential," says soccer Hall of Famer John McGrane. "I'm glad somebody has done something to resurrect it."

This is the latest chapter in a bit of a crazy story.

Back in the fall of 2018, the nine-year-old Stoney Creek building shut down as a soccer facility taking four indoor fields out of the loop. Multiply those fields by the number of prime rental hours that had been in high use and that was a lot of time taken away from the local soccer community. As many as 3,000 players were affected.

"It was significant," Saltfleet Stoney Creek Soccer Club president Sam DiSanto says. "Our indoor programs took a hit."

Not just his association, either. Some adult teams shut down. Competitive youth teams sucked up pretty much every other available hour at Redeemer University, Soccer World or other places. Some local teams found open turf as far away as Niagara Falls or Mississauga while others moved a chunk of their practice time into high school gyms. It allowed them to work out but was hardly ideal.

As this was going on, a squabble between Redeemer and Ancaster Youth Soccer — partners in the school's soccer bubble until the university recently terminated its user agreement with the club — was raising difficult questions about the future of indoor soccer in this city.

Then, just as things were looking terribly bleak, the marijuana project fell apart. That company's new CEO said it had "pivoted its focus" from cultivation and decided not to use the facility.

In comes Miki Radivojsa — who grew up in Hamilton but now lives in Oakville and has a similar soccer facility in Mississauga — who leased the empty building on Jan. 1. Since nary a seed was ever planted, the place is almost as it was when the last soccer ball was kicked. In fact, his first rental was using the place on Monday night.

Amazingly, despite just taking over and doing almost no promotion yet, he's already been getting calls.

"I'm getting bookings," he says. "I'm getting people phoning. There's a big, big need."

He says this area is clearly underserved. That said, it's a tough business.

From late fall until early spring, filling the hours isn't difficult. But once the nice weather arrives and field permits are signed, people want to be outside. McGrane says he looked into buying the place in a partnership with Forge FC but it was too expensive and the challenge was immense.

Radivojsa doesn't disagree. However, he says camps, shows and rentals to non-soccer teams will help keep the place busy. He's done it in Mississauga and he believes he can do it here.

The new space will allow some of those shuttered adult leagues to restart, it will also allow those rep teams to move out of the gyms and back onto turf here in town. Combine that with Redeemer insisting its bubble will remain open with a tweaked business model freeing up hours for groups all over the city and a troubled market suddenly looks reinvigorated.

sradley@thespec.com

905-526-2440 | @radleyatthespec

Spectator columnist Scott Radley hosts The Scott Radley Show weeknights from 6-8 on 900CHML

sradley@thespec.com

905-526-2440 | @radleyatthespec

Spectator columnist Scott Radley hosts The Scott Radley Show weeknights from 6-8 on 900CHML

Stoney Creek’s Players Paradise indoor soccer facility reopens under new name and new ownership

United Soccer Centre Hamilton is a godsend for local soccer players and associations.

Opinion Jan 29, 2020 by Scott Radley The Hamilton Spectator

The news that the indoor soccer facility once known as Players Paradise is back in business as a footy palace — after a brief hiatus during which it was supposed to be turned into a medical marijuana grow operation — is being loudly cheered by the local soccer community.

More sheltered fields mean more opportunities for games and practices in Canada's tough winters. Which means more people potentially playing. So the revival of what's now United Soccer Centre Hamilton is a godsend for local players and associations.

"It's absolutely essential," says soccer Hall of Famer John McGrane. "I'm glad somebody has done something to resurrect it."

This is the latest chapter in a bit of a crazy story.

Related Content

Back in the fall of 2018, the nine-year-old Stoney Creek building shut down as a soccer facility taking four indoor fields out of the loop. Multiply those fields by the number of prime rental hours that had been in high use and that was a lot of time taken away from the local soccer community. As many as 3,000 players were affected.

"It was significant," Saltfleet Stoney Creek Soccer Club president Sam DiSanto says. "Our indoor programs took a hit."

Not just his association, either. Some adult teams shut down. Competitive youth teams sucked up pretty much every other available hour at Redeemer University, Soccer World or other places. Some local teams found open turf as far away as Niagara Falls or Mississauga while others moved a chunk of their practice time into high school gyms. It allowed them to work out but was hardly ideal.

As this was going on, a squabble between Redeemer and Ancaster Youth Soccer — partners in the school's soccer bubble until the university recently terminated its user agreement with the club — was raising difficult questions about the future of indoor soccer in this city.

Then, just as things were looking terribly bleak, the marijuana project fell apart. That company's new CEO said it had "pivoted its focus" from cultivation and decided not to use the facility.

In comes Miki Radivojsa — who grew up in Hamilton but now lives in Oakville and has a similar soccer facility in Mississauga — who leased the empty building on Jan. 1. Since nary a seed was ever planted, the place is almost as it was when the last soccer ball was kicked. In fact, his first rental was using the place on Monday night.

Amazingly, despite just taking over and doing almost no promotion yet, he's already been getting calls.

"I'm getting bookings," he says. "I'm getting people phoning. There's a big, big need."

He says this area is clearly underserved. That said, it's a tough business.

From late fall until early spring, filling the hours isn't difficult. But once the nice weather arrives and field permits are signed, people want to be outside. McGrane says he looked into buying the place in a partnership with Forge FC but it was too expensive and the challenge was immense.

Radivojsa doesn't disagree. However, he says camps, shows and rentals to non-soccer teams will help keep the place busy. He's done it in Mississauga and he believes he can do it here.

The new space will allow some of those shuttered adult leagues to restart, it will also allow those rep teams to move out of the gyms and back onto turf here in town. Combine that with Redeemer insisting its bubble will remain open with a tweaked business model freeing up hours for groups all over the city and a troubled market suddenly looks reinvigorated.

sradley@thespec.com

905-526-2440 | @radleyatthespec

Spectator columnist Scott Radley hosts The Scott Radley Show weeknights from 6-8 on 900CHML

sradley@thespec.com

905-526-2440 | @radleyatthespec

Spectator columnist Scott Radley hosts The Scott Radley Show weeknights from 6-8 on 900CHML

Stoney Creek’s Players Paradise indoor soccer facility reopens under new name and new ownership

United Soccer Centre Hamilton is a godsend for local soccer players and associations.

Opinion Jan 29, 2020 by Scott Radley The Hamilton Spectator

The news that the indoor soccer facility once known as Players Paradise is back in business as a footy palace — after a brief hiatus during which it was supposed to be turned into a medical marijuana grow operation — is being loudly cheered by the local soccer community.

More sheltered fields mean more opportunities for games and practices in Canada's tough winters. Which means more people potentially playing. So the revival of what's now United Soccer Centre Hamilton is a godsend for local players and associations.

"It's absolutely essential," says soccer Hall of Famer John McGrane. "I'm glad somebody has done something to resurrect it."

This is the latest chapter in a bit of a crazy story.

Related Content

Back in the fall of 2018, the nine-year-old Stoney Creek building shut down as a soccer facility taking four indoor fields out of the loop. Multiply those fields by the number of prime rental hours that had been in high use and that was a lot of time taken away from the local soccer community. As many as 3,000 players were affected.

"It was significant," Saltfleet Stoney Creek Soccer Club president Sam DiSanto says. "Our indoor programs took a hit."

Not just his association, either. Some adult teams shut down. Competitive youth teams sucked up pretty much every other available hour at Redeemer University, Soccer World or other places. Some local teams found open turf as far away as Niagara Falls or Mississauga while others moved a chunk of their practice time into high school gyms. It allowed them to work out but was hardly ideal.

As this was going on, a squabble between Redeemer and Ancaster Youth Soccer — partners in the school's soccer bubble until the university recently terminated its user agreement with the club — was raising difficult questions about the future of indoor soccer in this city.

Then, just as things were looking terribly bleak, the marijuana project fell apart. That company's new CEO said it had "pivoted its focus" from cultivation and decided not to use the facility.

In comes Miki Radivojsa — who grew up in Hamilton but now lives in Oakville and has a similar soccer facility in Mississauga — who leased the empty building on Jan. 1. Since nary a seed was ever planted, the place is almost as it was when the last soccer ball was kicked. In fact, his first rental was using the place on Monday night.

Amazingly, despite just taking over and doing almost no promotion yet, he's already been getting calls.

"I'm getting bookings," he says. "I'm getting people phoning. There's a big, big need."

He says this area is clearly underserved. That said, it's a tough business.

From late fall until early spring, filling the hours isn't difficult. But once the nice weather arrives and field permits are signed, people want to be outside. McGrane says he looked into buying the place in a partnership with Forge FC but it was too expensive and the challenge was immense.

Radivojsa doesn't disagree. However, he says camps, shows and rentals to non-soccer teams will help keep the place busy. He's done it in Mississauga and he believes he can do it here.

The new space will allow some of those shuttered adult leagues to restart, it will also allow those rep teams to move out of the gyms and back onto turf here in town. Combine that with Redeemer insisting its bubble will remain open with a tweaked business model freeing up hours for groups all over the city and a troubled market suddenly looks reinvigorated.

sradley@thespec.com

905-526-2440 | @radleyatthespec

Spectator columnist Scott Radley hosts The Scott Radley Show weeknights from 6-8 on 900CHML

sradley@thespec.com

905-526-2440 | @radleyatthespec

Spectator columnist Scott Radley hosts The Scott Radley Show weeknights from 6-8 on 900CHML