An ariel view of SouthShore Sportsplex showing four fields, a playground, concessions and parking.

On September 16, the SouthShore Sportsplex officially opened in Apollo Beach with a ribbon-cutting ceremony welcoming residents to the four synthetic-turf athletic fields, making it home to one of the largest contiguous synthetic-turf fields in the nation and the go-to place for sports fans who love high-quality sports fields. The sportsplex will support a variety of recreational sports and activities, including soccer, football, lacrosse, kickball and cricket.

In addition to the fields, the first phase of construction features a playground, pavilions, LED lighting, a concession building with restrooms, offices, meeting space and parking for more than 500 vehicles. The park property is about 85 acres, with the $11 million first phase covering roughly half the site. Synthetic-turf baseball fields and a dog park have been discussed as part of the second phase of development.

SouthShore Sportsplex will be a place where anyone of any age looking to jump in and join a pickup game can do so by checking the website. Many county athletic facilities have contractual relationships with large organizations such as Little League and Pop Warner, mainly due to necessary insurance requirements, making availability limited for these kinds of activities to those not affiliated with the programs.

This will not be the case at SouthShore. The weekly events calendar will detail which fields are available for ‘Open Play’ pickup, ‘Skills and Drills’ development and ‘Training and Exercise’ lessons, as well as the scheduled times for the many other activities to be held at the facility throughout the week.

Chris Kiddy, athletics manager for Hillsborough County, stressed, “There should always be at least one field open for pickup games at the sportsplex.” Kiddy understands how hard it can be to find open fields. “At SouthShore, there are no field-use agreements, as all relationships with organizations are considered short-term rentals. This allows at least one field to remain open to Hillsborough County residents, which makes this a unique feature of the sportsplex.”

According to Rodney Jones, athletic specialist for Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation, one of the coolest features of the four fields is a cooling agent which when watered will lower the turf’s temperature for close to 12 hours. There is also a drainage system under the fields allowing for quicker drying after rainstorms.

Several local youth groups have already registered to use the SouthShore Sportsplex, such as the Waterset Oilers (football), Tampa Dynamo FC (soccer), N Zone Sports (soccer/football), Apollo Beach Lacrosse Club, Happy Feet (soccer) and Under the Lights powered by Under Armour (flag football). Adult leagues registered currently include Riverview Softball, Suncoast Soccer and Club Sport Soccer.

For rental fees and weekly calendars, visit The SouthShore Sportsplex is at 6110 Waterset Blvd. in Apollo Beach. Call 813-744-5595 for more information. Pets are welcome at the sportsplex, but they are not allowed on the fields.

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