Member stories / Giving Back / Be Yourself / Small Business

Changing the Game: Ultimate Soccer Arenas

Words by Abbie Dyer on Jun 15, 2016 2:54:37 PM

 Each time George went to cheer on his daughters at their soccer games, he always left feeling uncomfortable and frustrated. He missed shots because the lights weren't bright enough, the summer months brought on sweltering heat and the brisk evenings were felt indoors. After attending too many games with inadequate facilities, George finally had enough and decided to take matters into his own hands. 

Channeling his frustrations and the pain points that he heard from other parents, George set to work creating a state-of-the-art facility that people would actually enjoy visiting. So in November 2007, Ultimate Soccer Arenas, a 365,000 square foot facility in Pontiac, MI, opened to the public. Each feature of the complex, from the lights to the paint color on the walls, was carefully selected by George to provide maximum comfort for the one million people that pass through the doors of the complex each year.

  • SoccerBall.png
    Time to Play Players can find high-quality equipment at the on-site pro shop.
  • SoccerArena.png
    Open Spaces With four professional size indoor fields, there's plenty of space to play.
  • SoccerArenaFoodCourt.png
    Kick Back Players and their families can enjoy a quick bite to eat at the Lafayette Cafe. 
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    Pure Michigan All of the furniture at Ultimate Soccer Arenas was made in Michigan.

The Kick Off


Leaving his job as director for a major telecommunications company, George got to work creating his vision, drawing from his experience in business and the world of construction. Location was a huge priority in the building process. But he ultimately chose Pontiac because the drive to the facility was within one hour of 70 percent of all registered soccer players in the state of Michigan.


During construction, George was adamant about using Michigan-made products whenever possible, even if it meant incurring additional costs. To show further support for his neighbors and fellow businessmen, only Michigan contractors were hired to construct Ultimate Soccer Arenas. But the defining moment of his hard work was really felt when he opened the doors for the first time.


"A lot of people, in the beginning, thought this would be impossible to do," George says of the creation process. "It was so exciting to turn on those lights for the first time and see people start to flood the fields."


Designing a comfortable experience was so much more than picking a location and wall colors. Besides the large arenas, the upstairs mezzanine offers a bar for parents and an overhead view of each field. Downstairs, a restaurant and pro shop greet visitors as they walk in.



Revitalization of the City


Born and raised in the Detroit area, George gladly serves as an unofficial advocate for the Motor City. Though some would think twice about starting a business in the middle of an area clawing its way up from an economic downturn, George saw the current state of his home as an opportunity. 


"We want to see Pontiac come back. We're like the gateway to the city and we want to see the area grow," he explains.


With the recent expansion of a fourth indoor field and the addition of a state-of-the-art outdoor field, Ultimate Soccer Arenas is now the largest indoor soccer facility in North America. The sheer size and versatility of the fields make the facility not just popular for soccer, but for lacrosse, college graduations, community events and even weddings.


Yet the impact of the facility goes beyond simply providing a place for young people to exercise their passion for soccer; it's a gateway to a promising future for the students who practice there. As a result of having a safe place to practice all year, several players have received significant scholarships to college where they can continue to play soccer.


To enhance the experience of the facility, Ultimate Soccer Arenas is in the middle of a large parking lot expansion.



Never Give Up


The impact that Ultimate Soccer Arenas has had on the community is a great example of what can happen when we look at our frustrations as opportunities. For those playing with an idea, whether it's as fulfilling as a personal project or as ambitious as opening a business, George has some simple advice:


"Be relentless in the pursuit of your goal. Whenever people say no, keep pushing on and say yes."


Sitting in our minds, our ideas can seem small and insignificant. Yet when we find the courage to take these ideas to life, the rewards can be greater than ever imagined.


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SEE ALSO: Finding a New Dream: Kaya Coffee House   |   The Business of Community: Mert's Meats

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