DE Turf lists 1st tournament, names new athletic directors

Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

FREDERICA — DE Turf Sports Complex officials hosted a tour of the construction site Wednesday and announced the first scheduled tournament and new athletic directors.

DE Turf recently signed its first major tournament with College Connection’s Shooting Star Field Hockey Tournament Showcase and scheduled it for Easter weekend 2017.

According to officials, talks are taking place with 3 to 4 other interested parties that will likely schedule their tournaments before the end of the year as well.

“Shooting Star will bring to Delaware hundreds of visitors, who will spend money at hotels, restaurants, and nearby attractions,” said Chris Giacomucci, executive director of DE Turf.

“Since breaking ground in May, dozens of tournament organizers have contacted us about having their competitions here.”

DE Turf is also in talks with local schools and youth groups to host smaller scale community events for kids.

The $24 million project, being built alongside Del. 1 south of Frederica, will feature 12 synthetic fields on an 84-acre, state-of-the-art site. DE Turf will include lighted fields, concessions and a large parking lot. It will also have a championship stadium with seating for 700 people. The stadium is scheduled to be completed later in winter 2017.

Eventually, backers hope that the venue will create an annual $18 million economic impact for the local community through the visitors it is able to draw with events.

It will be able to host a variety of sports events with a focus on field hockey, soccer and lacrosse.

At the event on Wednesday, officials also announced three new experts they’ve hired for each of those sports. These directors will handle strategic planning, development and execution of programming at the complex.

Three-time Olympian Rachel Dawson will serve as the director of field hockey. She recently participated in the Rio Olympics. She was also named Honda’s 2007 National Field Hockey Player of the Year.

Ex-coach of the Delaware Wizards, Joe Brown was selected as director of soccer. He brings over 25 years of coaching experience to DE Turf. He currently serves as head of the women’s soccer program at Padua Academy.

Former Major League Lacrosse player Jay Motta will be director of lacrosse for the complex. He led the University of Delaware lacrosse team to America East Conference titles in 1999 and 2000 and to the NCAA quarterfinals in 1999. He has also served on the University of Delaware’s coaching staff.

Construction crews moved quickly and took advantage of good weather over the summer to complete half of the facility’s 12 synthetic fields. Gregory Moore, Vice President of the Becker Morgan Group, the architects that designed DE Turf, said that builder Richard Y. Johnson & Son and sub-contractors have made so much progress that they may be nearing completion around three months ahead of their original projected completion date of March 2017.

“There are 12 total fields, all of them are in right now and 8 of them are turfed,” said Mr. Moore. “We think we could be done as early as the end of the year. It may not be 100 percent finished, but we’ll see most of it done.”

For more information about DE Turf, visit their webpage at DETurf.com or follow DE Turf on Facebook. Event coordinators and sports league officials interested in more information can reach Mr. Giacomucci at chris@deturf.com

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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