5 ways Birmingham Legion, UAB, BUSA and Vestavia Hills SC are rapidly expanding soccer in the Magic City

Birmingham Legion
Birmingham Legion
BVAA Compass Soccer Field groundbreaking at UAB. Photo from Birmingham Legion Facebook.

Soccer is growing faster than ever in Birmingham. Need evidence? Check out these 5 big stories.

1. Birmingham Legion and  UAB to build a state of the art soccer stadium

We’ve known for months, Birmingham Legion and UAB were going to renovate the BVAA Compass Field, but last week it just got real. The Legion, UAB and the city held the official ground-breaking on a new and improved complex that will include, a state-of-the-art 4,000-seat grandstand, a permanent concessions stand, bathrooms and ticket office. An additional 40×20 video board will also be added. Now the big question is: Where are they going to build the brewery/pub nearby and who will it be?

Fun fact: A “legion” is 3000-6000 soldiers. Guess the new stadium is just the right size.

2. Birmingham Legion adds 4 new owners
Birmingham Legion FC
January 2018 photo of the Birmingham Legion F.C. ownership group and leadership team with Mayor Randall Woodfin. New Legion President/GM Jay Heaps is on Woodfin’s left.  The ownership group added four additional owners last week. Photo by Hamid Al-Diagan

Last week, the Birmingham Legion announced the addition of 4 new owners to the current group. Joining the original three owners, Jeff Logan, James Outland and Lee Styslinger III, are John Harbert, Jack Bryant, Billy Harbert and Jim Rein.

The new guys are each connected with Birmingham’s iconic Harbert business empire.

3. Let’s hear it for the kids! BUSA and Vestavia Hills join new mega league
Red Diamond Classic Birmingham Alabama
BUSA ECNL Team. Photo courtesy of Birmingham United Soccer Association

Two of Birmingham’s largest soccer clubs, Birmingham United Soccer Association and the Vestavia Hills Soccer Club have joined the Southeastern Clubs Champions League (SCCL). A collaboration of eight clubs in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. The new league which will pit the best U12 to U19 players in the South against each other is sort of like the SEC of youth club soccer. This is a big deal for top level youth soccer in Birmingham and Alabama.

4. Hammer time! The Hammers Kick-off their new season on Wednesday, May 16th

Birmingham Alabama

Yes – we anxiously await the 2019 arrival of the Birmingham Legion, but let us not forget, the Birmingham Hammers will be playing in 2018. In fact, they are kicking off their season THIS WEDNESDAY, May 16, 7:30pm at Samford University Soccer Stadium. Remember, the Samford Soccer and Track Stadium is NOT the football stadium. The soccer facility is located across the main campus on Lakeshore. Get your tickets today.

5. We are the champions! Alabama High School Association crown soccer state champs

Despite a couple of upsets, notably Auburn over Vestaiva Hills in the 7A championship, the Birmingham area once again claimed four out of the eight (half) state soccer championship this weekend.

The local winners…. drumroll please.

For the boys – Westminister – Oak Mountain and Homewood
For the girls – John Carroll and Vestavia Hills.

Congrats to all!

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.