Capital FC is planning to expand with two additional turf fields and a community center. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

When Collin Box looks across the playing field at Capital Fútbol Club he sees more than just turf.

“Physically it’s a field, but really it’s a space for all these life lessons and mentorships,” said Box, executive director of Capital Fútbol Club. “What happens on that space is really something that’s special.”

Capital FC is soccer club that’s home to 2,500 members and 42 teams. It’s grown so much in recent years that its playing fields are constantly booked with teams.

Now the sports field, located at 5201 State St., is hoping to expand with two additional turf fields and a community center where kids can get help with homework or tutoring. The club is planning to break ground on the first portion of the $5 million project in late summer.

The club has raised more than $1 million of its $1.5 million goal to build Ed Davison Field, named after the man who formed the Sprague Sabres, one of the first youth soccer clubs in the Salem.

Box said kids who join a soccer team spend eight to 10 years together, and often come from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. He said that is what’s unique about sports, especially the world’s most popular sport: soccer. 

“You’re connecting people across different normal boundaries and giving kids a vision of what their future can look like,” he said.

He gave as an example of a girls’ team, where the 12-year-old players were talking about what college they wanted to attend during a car ride. One of those girls became the only one of her siblings to go to college.  

Capital FC is planning to expand with two additional turf fields and a community center. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

In 2017, Capital FC added a turf field which allowed players to train year-round. It increased the club’s revenue by nearly $100,000 each year.

Box said demand for the playing field is extremely high. It’s booked pretty much any time during the day and programs run until 11 p.m. or midnight each night with soccer leagues or lacrosse.  

He said on a typical weekend, 5,000 people will come through the complex. About half are home teams, but the other half are coming from out of the area, staying and shopping locally.

Box said the additions will provide a much-needed sports hub in Salem that will bring in millions from people visiting the complex for tournaments and other sporting events. He said other cities similarly sized to Salem have sports complexes.  

“That’s something that’s really lacking for us in Salem,” Box said.

Box said the club wants to use the fields as an anchor for a community center called Pioneer Commons. He said that could host after school soccer programs.  

He said even throughout the pandemic when kids lost access to sports, it was clear how important it was to have a facility in the community for them to play. 

Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected]

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