AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — Aiken city leaders are discussing plans with a local group, Aiken Futbol Club, to add a soccer complex to Citizens Park. The group wants facilities for its operation there, with the ability to hold regional soccer tournaments. It would be the first in the City.

“We’ve won several tournaments and state championships,” Aiken Futbol Club Board of Director BJ Clifford told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk about the group of nearly 300. “We’ve had a great deal of success throughout. We did want to kind of try to increase the offerings of soccer in the community,” he added.

Now those games are being held outside of Aiken. “You can host a tournament, you bring in a hundred teams, each team has 15 people, and that’s a lot of hotel rooms sold, and a lot of food being sold. Realistically it’s a missed opportunity for the city of Aiken,” Clifford said.

Leaders are in the early stages of reviewing a lease agreement to detail proposed operations and construction. “What would be putting lighting, putting in fencing, putting in actual sports turf, fields, things of that nature,” Aiken Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Jessica Campbell said.

Less work would need to be completed at Citizens Park compared to other locations like Generations Park. “The infrastructure is not there currently that exists at Citizens Park, so the project cost would be much greater if we were to put it at a location such as Generations. That’s what’s attractive in using Citizens Park is that the space is already leveled out. It’s already utilized for soccer. It’s just not of a complex,” she added.

The item will need to go through the City Council. It could be discussed later this year. “They’ve been a great partner to us, so we think it’s just an extenuation of the partnership,” Campbell shared. “Certainly through these work sessions that we’ve had with council, it’s something that we feel the City is supportive of and is definitely interested in moving forward with.”