(Updated at 8:50 p.m. on 11/7/2021) Soccer players, Olympic medalists, public officials, businessmen, and an ambassador descended on Holladay Field (1311 Spring Hill Road) in McLean last weekend to celebrate the facility’s recently completed renovation.
The nearly 2,000 attendees at the Fairfax County Park Authority’s grand opening event on Saturday (Oct. 30) reflected the diversity of participants in the project, which converted the 5.1-acre park’s athletic field from natural to synthetic turf.
“This is a unique project with several key partners, each instrumental in helping to make this project possible and providing funding for this synthetic turf field conversion,” the park authority said in a news release yesterday (Thursday).
The new Holladay Field is a welcome addition to the area’s recreational facilities for McLean Youth Soccer, which said the available spaces for practices and games were insufficient to support its 3,000-plus players.
Synthetic turf requires less maintenance and provides “increased accessibility for user groups” than the existing natural turf, MYS Executive Director Louise Waxler says.
Working with the FCPA, the soccer association contributed $650,000 to the $1.5 million project and even agreed to provide movable side goals for the field when rising material costs pushed it over the available budget.
Donors to MYS included Leidos CEO Roger Krone and United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba, who wanted to contribute as soccer fans and the parents of players, according to the FCPA.
Collectively, the private funding amounted to $725,000. The project also used public money from the county’s 2016 park bond.
Contractors began work on Holladay Field in June.
In addition to creating a full soccer field that can also be used for football, lacrosse, and field hockey, the project brought two underground stormwater management facilities, a bleacher pad, an access trail, and landscape improvements.
In addition to Krone and Al Otaiba, notable figures at the grand opening event included Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, who became the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles in 1984, and five-time Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long.
Long’s husband Lucas Winters serves as the Elite Clubs National League coach and director of recreation for McLean Youth Soccer.
Washington Spirit captain Andi Sullivan and D.C. United mascot Talon made appearances as well, joining Long in signing autographs for the young soccer players in attendance, according to MYS.
“Thanks to [Dranesville District] Supervisor [John] Foust, the Fairfax County Park Authority, and the generous investment by Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba of the UAE and Leidos, Inc., we became one step closer to meeting our field needs,” Waxler said by email. “This is not only an investment in our kids, but also an investment to the McLean community as a whole.”
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