TAMPA — When USF first-year coach Alex Golesh attends meetings about the Bulls’ proposed 35,000-seat soccer stadium on campus, he doesn’t always have deep thoughts. Exterior color is not yet high on his priority list.
But ask him about the football operations portion of the proposed stadium and Golesh has plenty to say.
“I know from a football complex what we need and what we need to do to take the next step,” Golesh said Tuesday, shortly after the USF Board of Trustees approved spending of up to $22 million to design the stadium had approved.
Football complexes are incorporated into many stadiums across the country. The state of Colorado built a weight room, plunge pools, meeting rooms and other everyday components into Canvas Stadium, which opened in 2017. Missouri added a facility to its end zone in 2019, and SMU broke ground for $100 million. three story end zone complex in december.
The Bulls could build an operations center into the stadium, but it’s also easy to imagine the facility lying between the stadium and the indoor practice facility that just opened, perhaps connected to both.
Regardless of the location, Golesh has several requirements in mind.
“The goal of any soccer facility when you build it is to encourage the boys to be there all day, right?” said Golesh.
That’s not going to happen unless Golesh creates a culture where players want to spend time together before and after practice. But the institutions must also allow this.
“I think accessibility and ease of getting around,” Golesh said. “I think if it’s easy for young people to park, go in, eat, relax where they are.”
Functional components could include sleeping quarters (the Gators’ new complex includes zero-gravity chairs for napping), rehabilitation areas, academic spaces, meeting rooms, and a nutrition center. To encourage players to stay, Golesh threw out ideas like a barber shop, bowling alley, or arcade.
Aside from becoming a one-stop shop for players, Golesh sees the facility as a selling point for prospects.
“There’s a recruitment site that needs to have some wow and glitz,” Golesh said.
Combine the two – day-to-day functionality and a way to sell the program – and it’s easy to see why Golesh is so invested in this part of the stadium project. He said on Tuesday he would like to see it before the rest of the stadium (expected to open in 2026) comes to fruition.
Golesh said he and other USF officials will be touring new facilities over the next few months to “really refine the actual inner workings of it all.”
• • •
Never miss the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida College Sports and more. Follow our sports team on the Tampa Bay Times Twitter and Facebook.