The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Lorain, OH soccer academy transforms into multisport complex !


 Loraine, OH – The operators of a Lorain sports complex want to be a game-changer in the city and the entire west side of Cleveland.

Lost Nation Sports Park West, 2101 All Pro Athletic Parkway, Lorain, will open its doors to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 17th.

The event marks the next step in the transformation of the former Brad Friedel Premier Soccer Academy to become a sports training complex that is open to the public.

“The potential here is pretty significant,” said Mike Srsen, developer of the Lost Nation Sports Park in Willoughby and former treasurer of the Cleveland Browns.

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The 80,000-square-foot field house has been partitioned with spaces separated by lines marking fields of play and hanging nets to stop the flight of stray balls.

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“This used to be one big soccer field,” said Joe Magill, assistant general manager of the facility.

On Oct. 14, the Lost Nation Sports Park West was a hub of activity as crews ran steam cleaners over 50,000 square feet of indoor turf.

Freshly painted lines were drying on two full-size basketball courts. Carpenters were building the platform that will become an indoor batting cage with Iron Mike pitching machines for eight batting stations.

There are new walls set up to delineate a smaller practice space for youths. Some bleachers were set up for spectators while others were turned up on the side to make room for work.

The facility is undergoing a transformation because it was designed and built for soccer players and coaches, not multiple uses and spectators, said Chris Dore, general manager of Lost Nation Sports Park West.

“The whole concept is to make sure it’s multisport,” Dore said. “You can do all of the different sports that you want here.

“Looking out into the field, there aren’t a lot of facilities that are opened up like this, so we’ve got a lot of room to play,” he said.

The academy, originally intended to be a development institute for aspiring professional soccer players, opened in 2007. It went bankrupt in 2009 and has been used as a training facility by the Cleveland Gladiators.

Chris Haas, owner of All-Pro Freight, purchased the property in October 2013. In August, Haas and Srsen announced the new name and joint venture to develop the best multisport, year-round complex on the west side of Cleveland.

“We think we hopefully will be delivering that message when we open up,” Srsen said.

The field house is the first stage of redeveloping the soccer academy to become Lost Nation Sports Park West.

The soccer academy was built with a living center with 20 dorm rooms for players. There is a coaches lounge, a house parents room, a balcony overlooking an outdoor soccer field behind the center, a learning center, a commercial grade kitchen and cafeteria and a weight room.

That center has potential to provide housing for players and their families and to become a new sports-themed restaurant. Srsen noted The Players Club at Lost Nation Sports Park is a key part of that sports complex.

“I think, in general, this has been sort of a hidden jewel in Lorain County,” Srsen said. “What we’re doing is evolutionary, not revolutionary. We want to do things methodically and correctly, build it up.”

Communities such as Avon, Avon Lake and Westlake are growing quickly with young families, Srsen said. The Lost Nation Sports Park West will not necessarily be an overnight sensation, but the operators want to set the foundation for long-term success, he said.

“On this side of town, once again my gut feeling is, the potential is there to provide the same type of product and service that we do on the east side,” Srsen said. “I think we’ll be very well received.”

The facility will remain the training center of the Cleveland Gladiators team of the Arena Football League.


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