A year-round magnet for lacrosse, field hockey, rugby, and soccer, regional tournaments and local team practices, the Mecklenburg County Sportsplex at Matthews has been one of the most popular sports spots in the area since its opening in 2013. Consider that a warm-up. When the second phase of the field complex opens, it will more than double the opportunity for competition and play.
Construction is wrapping up on the $34 million project, which will add four new synthetic fields, two more grass fields, as well as a 2700-seat championship level stadium. Add that to the existing five turf fields, and that’s a whole lot of ball going on!
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation’s Preston Buckman manages the facility and said the “official” opening is in the works, but the new turf fields are already in the mix with tournament play in late January and early February.
Buckman says he expects the construction work to be complete before spring and staff moved into the offices soon. Spring weather will determine when the grass fields are ready for use. But four new turf fields alone nearly doubles the existing field space. That’s big for parents and players in the fast-growing field sports space of lacrosse and field hockey.
“No doubt It’s a much-needed addition to the area,” said Erin Sanders. She coaches field hockey for Charlotte Ambush and Randolph Middle School. Between field hockey and soccer, she and her daughter are regulars at the Sportsplex.
“Even without a big event at the complex, it’s great to see the kids playing field hockey right along with football practice, soccer, or another game going on… and with playgrounds for the younger siblings, there’s something for everyone.”
“As a lacrosse family, we are thrilled with the improvements,” said Debbie Inskeep. She’s lugged many a wagonload of game day essentials between sidelines and across parking lots.
More parking? You heard right. Not only is field space expanding, so is the parking. Regular tournament patrons at the Sportsplex are familiar with the scarcity of spaces and the shuttle bus rides from satellite lots. Buckman says there are now enough spaces on the property to accommodate action on all of the fields, making the shuttle bus rides a thing of the past.
“With the layout of the fields, the new infill material, and the better parking situation, you can tell they’ve paid a lot of attention to the user experience,” said Brian Holland, head coach of Performance Edge Lacrosse. His teams have spent many a tournament weekend at the Sportsplex at Matthews.
“It’s already a great place to play,” added Holland, “all of this is just going to make it that much better. It would be a great place for the Charlotte Hounds to play, too!”
And with the new fields opening will come a new entrance and new address for the Sportsplex at Matthews. Entry to the park will now be off of Independence Boulevard between Matthews-Mint Hill Road and Interstate 485. The new address is 2425 Sports Parkway.
“We want to stress that yes, there are a lot of fields and plenty of room for competitive play,” added Buckman, “but there are also two playgrounds and miles of walking trails, space to ride bikes and all of that… It really is a whole lot more than just an athletic facility.”
You don’t need a reservation to experience the Sportsplex. Walking or riding through the park or using the playground equipment is always free, and spectating at any of the tournaments is also most often free. If you’d like to host a league event or tournament there, check out their tournament calendar and reservation guidelines here: