Adelaide United announced its partnership with the City of Playford for the construction of an exclusive training facility at Ridley Reserve for at least the next five years.
With the project to be completed by September 2015, Adelaide United Chairman, Greg Griffin, declared the opportunity for the Reds as something that couldn’t be missed.
“We needed a base and this is a magnificent opportunity,” Griffin said.
“We have four very large and successful councils working together (on this project), we’re part of a very important sports-gateway, and we’re fifteen minutes from the city.
“We’ve got our home and they’re building facilities for us. Now it’s up to us to embrace the community and become part of it.
“It’s been awful (to continuously move training facilities) because we’ve gone from pitch to pitch and it’s only through the goodwill of the (local clubs) that continually let us train on their pitches.
“But these pitches aren’t A-League quality, whereas what the City of Playford is giving us two A-League quality pitches, so everyday we come here, it’ll be like playing at Coopers Stadium with the exact dimensions (of that ground).”
Mayor of Playford, Glenn Docherty, added to Griffin’s comments, praising United for its sense of community and stating the current agreement could see the Reds based at Playford for the next 20 years.
“It truly is fantastic to have Adelaide United Football Club based here in the northern suburbs (of South Australia),” Docherty said.
“Today (Tuesday) will see the start of two A-League pitches being developed here at Ridley Reserve, which will be fenced off for exclusive use for Adelaide Untied.
“It will also see (the club’s) training and development centre being built here with new change rooms and medical suite (also) built.
“Adelaide United is a great community based club that develops young people right across our community and for the love of (football).
“We have a five year lease with extension options for the next 20 years and we hope to see (the club) cement their permanent future for a long period of time here at this facility.”
Locals to the northern suburbs and now United players, Craig Goodwin and Ben Warland, both expressed their delight at knowing the club will now have an A-League quality training ground, which they believe will help settle themselves, as well as their teammates.
“This decision is fantastic,” Goodwin said. “I think the biggest thing is just to have a training ground that is a first class facility.
“To be able to train at the same spot every session (is great) rather than having to go here, there, and everywhere.
“(Moving around the state for training) was quite disruptive. We’ve trained at, I think, five different places throughout the year and chopping and changing throughout the week as well.
“A lot of our (injury) problems (this season) were soft tissue (injuries), coming from changing from hard fields to soft fields and not having that stability in terms of training. But I think this will make us feel more settled and we’ll have a home.”
Warland said, “It’s great for me personally to be travelling less to and from training. But having a state of the art facility in the northern suburbs is a great thing for the club and especially the community.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to is pretty excited for us to be coming here because the locals will finally be able to come to trainings.
“As a kid, having a great club like United in the (area) would give you a bit of inspiration to get to the next level and make it as a professional.”