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Batavia Turf

May 3, 2021 - 9:24am

The facility manager for the Batavia Soccer Park on Bank Street Road said that he is pleasantly surprised over the number of teams signed up to compete in the 2021 edition of the annual Empire Cup & College Showcase.

About 90 boys teams and 70 girls teams will make their way to the 16-field soccer complex over the next two weekends. That is about 40-percent less than usual, but a positive sign when considering the tournament was canceled last year.

“It’s definitely a better turnout that I expected, which is great. That leads me to believe that things are opening up again, including sports,” said Michael Henderson, of Fairport, coordinator of this and other activities at the park, which is owned and maintained by CY Farms and Batavia Turf.

Henderson, a teacher at Northeast College Preparatory High in Rochester, said teams from all over New York, plus Connecticut and Western Pennsylvania have entered. Competition will take place in age groups starting at 10 years old, all the way up to 19 years old.

The first weekend (May 8-9) is for the boys and the second weekend (May 15-16) is for the girls. Games are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Henderson said the schedule is “pretty active,” with 12 to 13 games going on at once. Each team will play a minimum of three games.

“We’re careful, however, working with the New York State Governor’s Office, to make sure we follow the (COVID-19) guidelines,” he said. “Unfortunately, we won’t have any teams from Canada, which usually sends a large amount, due to travel restrictions.”

In its sixth year, the Empire Cup & College Showcase features clubs at different levels of play – some Elite or Premier as well as strong travel league teams, Henderson said. Youth in the 15-19 age groups will have more than family watching them as the tournament serves as a venue for college coaches to see potential recruits.

Henderson called the tournament – one of several on the soccer park’s schedule this season – “an economic kick to the area.”

“We always give a heads-up to our local restaurants because if we don’t they will be inundated,” he said. “A group of 15 to 20 kids coming into eat, it fills you up fast. Also, we contract with local hotels and try to keep it within the Batavia area.”

He credited the staff at Batavia Turf and CY Farms for continuing to do “an amazing job” for the community.

“For the local people, if you have a couple kids in the family, you can go to one place to watch them play rather than running all over the city to watch them,” he said. “It’s an awesome park.”

The park, located across the road from Cornerstone Church, hosts the Rochester District Youth Soccer League, which includes teams from Batavia, Le Roy, Pavilion and other Western New York communities.

For more about the Empire Cup & College Showcase and other information, go to www.bataviasoccerpark.com.

July 29, 2010 - 9:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, recreation, Batavia Turf, Batavia Sports Park.

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When loyal Batavian Bea McManis visited Hornell for a horseshoe tournament she was impressed with what she found -- a city-sponsored, championship-caliber facility that brought in people from all over the state to stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants.

In a comment on The Batavian, she also noted Hornell annually closes down Main Street for a basketball tournament.

"In my opinion, Batavia is shortsighted when it comes to utilizing its best asset," Bea wrote. "We are located in a perfect spot to make the city a mecca for recreational events such as Hornell had over the weekend."

Ted Hawley shares the vision.

A couple of years ago he approached Craig Yunker, owner of Batavia Turf, about letting him organize soccer tournaments on the grass he grows.

After ironing out some details with the Town of Batavia, Hawley and Yunker opened the Batavia Sports Park off Bank Street Road.

The Town of Batavia chipped in $41,000 to lease the land from Yunker and provide an entrance and gravel parking lot.

"We already know just on that first tournament, the pay back," said Town of Batavia Board Member John Gerace. "We don't know dollars yet but we'll be looking at some numbers on what the pay back is to the town and Genesee County and the city."

This spring, Hawley attracted two significant soccer events to the new sports park -- an Olympic team camp and an Empire United Soccer Academy event.

But Hawley's vision doesn't stop with soccer -- he sees no reason that the facility can't become a major stopping off point for tournaments, camps and clinics for lacrosse, baseball and softball and any other sport.

He would like to see expanded facilities and more fields.

"In my wildest dreams, this could really be a great product between Rochester and Buffalo," Hawley said.

And Yunker is certainly open to expansion. He pointed to a cornfield and said, "we could put another three soccer fields there and another three in the next field over."

"There's 74 acres here," Yunker added.

Nobody's yet talking about the dollars and cents to make it happen, but the town board visited the facility Wednesday to see what some of the immediate issues are, which include some sort of shelter for players and parents (protection during storms), expanded parking and a second access point to Bank Street Road, so there would be only one way in, and one way out for drivers.

Even as board members Hawley and Yunker expressed pleasure and awe at all of the families making use of the facility on Wednesday, Yunkers noted that the future of the Sports Park isn't a done deal.

"The town hasn’t committed past this year. I haven’t committed past this year," Yunker said. "This is sort of a see-how-it-develops and see-if-the-community-supports-it and see-if-it-makes-sense."

May 2, 2010 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, soccer, Batavia Turf.

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Regional and local soccer players gathered at the recently completed Batavia Sports Park at Batavia Turf Farms on Bank Street Road over Saturday and Sunday for various training sessions.

The camp included sessions for the New York State West Olympic Development Program on both days. This afternoon the Genesee Amateur Soccer Association held a Coaches and Players Clinic.

More pictures after the jump:

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