With a clear vision and the support of Middle Township Committee, the Board of Trustees for Cape Express Soccer voted unanimously to enter into a private-public partnership to construct and operate a soccer training and competition complex at the Robert “Ockie” Wisting Recreation Area in Rio Grande. The execution of the 20-year lease marks the end of a decade-long dream to build a home facility for Cape Express that will host a variety of programs for youth soccer, ranging from basic skills development to nationally-recognized competitive teams.
Since its founding in 1982, the Cape Express Soccer Club has successfully partnered with the county, several municipalities and area school districts to host training, games and tournaments on their lands. “It is through the generosity of our public partners that Cape Express was able to grow and now competes at the highest levels of play,” said Club Director of Coaching Charlie Duccilli. “From this foundation, we are so excited to take the next step in building a centralized home facility that will allow us to increase programming and operate with greater effectiveness.”
On Wednesday, September 7th, Middle Township Committee passed a resolution to execute the lease, which had undergone review and scrutiny by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection given the property’s status as a Green Acres acquisition. The soccer complex will be constructed in two phases, with work on Phase I expected to begin by the end of 2016. The fields will be maintained by Cape Express in cooperation with the Township, which just began construction of other park amenities funded in part by the Cape May County Open Space Board. “The shared vision of our Club and the Township, partnering to provide a variety of recreational opportunities at one location is gratifying”, said Cape Express President Jim Farrell. “We look forward to hosting tournaments and generating interest that will add to economic investment in Rio Grande”, he continued.
Once completed, the lighted soccer facility will host up to a dozen fields that can be configured to suit the training and competition needs from the 4-to-6 year-old participants in the free Caperoos program, to the 16-to-18 year-old players in the Club’s Varsity Academy Program - one of which was a State Cup winner, Regional Champion, and Nationals competitor this summer.