RUSH soccer partners with RBC, sportsplex

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Photo: Southside High School boys soccer coach Randy Vice, Rainbow City Mayor Joe Taylor and Alabama RUSH Soccer Club Director Bill Martin (pictured, from left) display the RUSH banner after RUSH and The Sportsplex at Rainbow City reached an agreement to make the sportsplex, formerly known as the Etowah County Mega Sports Complex, the permanent home for RUSH. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger) 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

The Sportsplex in Rainbow City and the Alabama Rush Soccer Club recently reached an agreement to make the Sportsplex, formerly known as the Etowah County Mega Sports Complex, the organization’s permanent home.
RUSH and the Sportsplex had been working on an agreement over the last two months, with the final arrangements for the move reached on July 18.
As the competitive division of the Etowah Youth Soccer Association, RUSH has had several state and regional championships over the last 10 years and has grown into a successful state league program with highly trained coaches and staff.
“We feel extremely fortunate to have this partnership with Rainbow City,” said RUSH Operations Director Bill Martin. “The future is bright for local soccer, and RUSH soccer in particular. Mayor Joe Taylor, Randy Vice, the sports authority and the entire City of Rainbow City have rolled out the red carpet for us, and we’re beyond excited. We think we have a first-class program, and now we have a first-class facility that matches that. Just from where I’ve seen competitive soccer start in this area to where we’re at right now is incredible. We can’t wait to get on the field and start.”
State league play will bring teams from Birmingham, Dothan, Mobile, Montgomery, Decatur, Huntsville and other Alabama cities to Rainbow City, while tournaments hosted by RUSH will bring in teams from around and beyond the Southeast.
According to Sports Complex Chairman, Rainbow City Councilman and Southside High School boys soccer coach Randy Vice, the complex always had the aim of hosting a competitive soccer program.
“RUSH is the most competitive program in North Alabama, if not the state” he said. “I think [RUSH] has won four or five state championships since my children have played in the program. Bill [Martin] does a great job of preparing these young men for that level of competition, and we’re excited to be a part of that. We have a Norwegian and a Swede on our roster, and both of them said that our fields compare to the best they’ve played on in Europe.”
Southside senior Jonah Keenan was impressed with the state of the sportsplex fields.
“I was here when we first started laying sand for the campus fields, and this is not just a step up form that; it’s out of this world,” he said.
“It’s truly amazing to play here,” said Sigaurd Eik, a senior foreign exchange student from Norway. “It’s one of the best fields I’ve ever played on.”
Rainbow City Mayor Joe Taylor views the Sportsplex as “head and shoulders” above similar facilities.
“This is the type of field where competitive [soccer] needs to be played,” he said. “Being fortunate enough to land RUSH as our competitive group, we know that it will raise us to the next level. As we expand and go into the other sports, this will be the foundational stone for this complex.”
Taylor pointed out that besides the financial benefits of hosting large competitive soccer tournaments, the facility will spread the word about how much Rainbow City and the surrounding area has to offer potential residents.
“There will probably be people who come to our area for soccer and decide to stay. It’s happening all over. We know there’s a West Coast exodus, and those people are looking for a home, and Rainbow City might just be the place for them.”
The sportsplex will also host the older girls division of Alabama FC for the 2023-2024 season. Formally known as Fusion FC, Alabama FC East will play home state league matches as well as hosting and co-hosting tournaments at the sportsplex.

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