The Riverhounds are getting a whole lot larger. Or at least, their facilities are.
With much fanfare and a veritable army of dignitaries, health professionals, and soccer folks, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds along with Allegheny Health Network and Highmark Health announced plans for new facilities to be built in Coraopolis, PA. The site is nearby to the current Montour Junction Sports Complex.
The new facility, to be completed in 2021, will be known as the “AHN Montour Health and Sports Medicine Center”. According to a Riverhounds SC press release, the 78-acre facility will include 10 full-sized outdoor artificial soccer fields and two full-sized indoor soccer fields. The new fields will allow for potential expansion of the Riverhounds youth soccer program, the Riverhounds Development Academy, and will also be available for use by soccer clubs around the Greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area.
In terms of its sports medicine facilities, it will provide a diverse and comprehensive array of health services to both athletes and the public like nothing else in Western Pennsylvania. The 20,000-square-foot AHN medical facility will offer orthopaedic and sports medicine services, physical and occupational therapy, a concussion diagnosis and management program, and sports performance training. AHN Montour will also offer walk-in primary care for patients. The Riverhounds press release called it “one of the largest of its kind in the country and one of the very few with an onsite medical facility.”
Riverhounds owner Tuffy Shallenberger was effusive about the impact the new facility and expanded partnership would have, both on the Riverhounds and on youth soccer. The team owner said, “This has to be the biggest step in the Riverhounds organization ever.”
Upon completion, the Riverhounds professional team will use AHN Montour as their primary practice facility. “That’ll be home base for our pro team,” said Shallenberger.
Photo gallery: Still renderings of the planned Riverhounds SC / AHN Montour Health and Sports Medicine Center
While the maintenance and scheduling for the outdoor soccer facilities will continue to be the responsibility of the Friends of Pittsburgh Professional Soccer, the indoor facility will be managed by the Riverhounds and Shallenberger Properties. The land itself is leased to the various partnering entities, but belongs to Allegheny County under the auspices of the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County.
Design and construction of the Riverhounds Training Facilities and AHN Montour will be undertaken by Tristate Design & Consulting, and K2 Engineering, Inc.
The expanded space might potentially allow for an expansion of the RDA, according to Shallenberger, but in addition to the impact it will have on improving health care and sports medicine in the region, the true beneficiary of AHN Montour is the sport of soccer itself. “I think it helps all the soccer clubs in the area. Once you get to the second phase, you’re talking ten fields out there. It’s huge for the sport.”
In addition to training grounds, weight rooms, sports rehabilitation and recovery facilities, and locker rooms for the Riverhounds, Shallenberger also expects that some of the offices and team operations for the professional team will be located out in Coraopolis at the new building. That would ultimately have some impact on how the Riverhounds organization makes use of both of their new spaces, although it is unclear what specifically might change in the ways that the team will make use of space inside the Highmark Stadium building.
For Tuffy, one of the most exciting facets of the new partnership was in having state-of-the-art sports rehabilitation and training staff right next to the training ground for his football club. Ultimately, this is a step in helping Riverhounds players perform at their best, from the senior team on down to the youngest boys and girls in the RDA. Shallenberger said, “Having the team of Allegheny Heath there for us at all times, with the pro team, with recovery, injuries; this is as good if not better than what any MLS team has.”
“For Pittsburgh to have this really shows where the sport is going in the area.”