Eyes on St. Johns County: Tebow’s JAXUSL Unveils Ambitious Soccer Complex Plan

A new professional soccer franchise in Northeast Florida is making progress towards a $30 million training site in northwestern St. Johns County. The St. Johns County board of commissioners voted 5-0 to pursue a possible public partnership with the JAXUSL ownership group, which includes former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow. The site would serve as the training home for the region’s fourth professional franchise in men’s soccer and its first in women’s soccer. The development plans include professional training facilities and more than a dozen fields for community use. The project is still in the preliminary stages and will require further approval from the county. The JAXUSL ownership group is also actively searching for a permanent stadium site in Duval, Clay, and St. Johns counties.

The proposed training site would be located along County Road 16A in the western portion of St. Johns County, near the St. Johns River. The area is experiencing rapid population growth, with a 12% increase in just over two years. The complex would include up to 15 soccer fields, an eight-lane athletics track and mini-stadium, as well as additional amenities such as walking trails, playgrounds, and picnic sites. The JAXUSL proposal would nearly double the number of fields from the original plan. The goal is to make St. Johns County a soccer destination not just for professional games, but also for regional youth tournaments and preseason training for teams from other leagues.

The economic impact of the sports complex is estimated to be between $15 million and $20 million annually, including revenue from regional youth tournaments. The site could also attract teams from other USL clubs, Major League Soccer, and even international teams for preseason training. The JAXUSL ownership group hopes to complete a land swap for a 33-acre plot controlled by the Florida Department of Transportation, which is currently designated for a future retention pond. The timing of the project would depend on clearing these hurdles, but the goal is to break ground in early 2024 and potentially open in 2025.

The proposed training site in St. Johns County adds to the flurry of development projects underway in Northeast Florida sports. The ECHL’s Icemen recently completed an $18 million renovation of the Community First Igloo, the Jumbo Shrimp baseball team is planning a $25 million upgrade to 121 Financial Ballpark, and the Jaguars recently opened the new Miller Electric Center for NFL training. The Jaguars have also proposed a major renovation of EverBank Stadium in the future.

Reference: The Florida Times-Union