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DE Turf Sports Complex signs first major tournament

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FREDERICA – The DE Turf Sports Complex announced Wednesday it has signed its first major tournament. College Connection’s Shooting Star Field Hockey Tournament Showcase will take to the fields Easter Weekend 2017. A similar event in Virginia last year brought in more than 150 teams (each of up to 20 players) and more than 175 college coaches, according to officials.

“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. “The showcase is just the first of many events the complex will host. Since breaking ground in May, dozens of tournament organizers have contacted us about having their competitions here. DE Turf, as an economic engine, is certainly starting to get revved up.”

Turf complex officials said construction of the complex has generated 200 jobs as crews took advantage of great weather over the summer to complete work on half of the facility’s fields and start on the other half.

Once completed this spring, DE Turf will have 12 synthetic fields on an 84-acre, state-of-the-art site. It will be able to host a variety of sports with a specific focus on field hockey, soccer and lacrosse.  Giacomucci announced the hiring of three experts – one for each sport – who will oversee the strategic planning, development and execution of each sport’s programming at the complex.

Three-time Olympian Rachel Dawson will serve as the Director of Field Hockey. She recently played for the U.S. Field Hockey Team at the Rio Olympics and has also played in more than a dozen other tournaments around the world. In 2007 she was named Honda’s National Field Hockey Player of the Year.

Joe Brown has been named Director of Soccer. He brings more than 25 years of coaching experience to DE Turf. Brown currently serves as head of the women’s soccer program at Padua Academy. He was previously a coach with the Delaware Wizards and has trained more than 50 professional players now playing for clubs in the MLS (Major League Soccer) and around the globe.

Former Major League Lacrosse player Jay Motta will be Director of Lacrosse. Motta played varsity lacrosse at the University of Delaware. He led the team to the America East Conference titles in 1999 and 2000 and to the NCAA quarterfinal in 1999. In addition to his professional career, Motta has served on the University of Delaware Men’s Lacrosse coaching staff and co-founded Pro Lacrosse, LLC.

The complex, situated along DE 1 just south of Frederica, will feature lighted fields, an indoor multi-purpose room, concessions and ample parking. It will also have a championship stadium with seating for 700 people. The stadium is scheduled to be done this winter.

The new facility, designed by Becker Morgan Group and being constructed by Richard Y. Johnson & Son, is expected to pump $18 million into the local economy annually. Work on the project began this year after business leaders and Kent County officials proposed the idea back in 2008.

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