History of the South Campus Sports Association
A Visual History of the Campus
The sports fields and facilities at South Campus are the product of a twenty-year evolution of concerned citizens’ thinking and planning about how best to ensure that the places that our children play are protected against potential encroachment from commercial development and school construction.
The Stella Link Redevelopment Authority (SLRA) was formed in 1989 as a public-private partnership to help address crime and other problems associated with certain dilapidated areas along the Stella Link corridor southwest of downtown Houston. Working with the City, local neighborhood associations, and private foundations, SLRA raised funds to purchase 22 acres of dangerous properties nearby and between Pershing Middle School and Mark Twain Elementary School. The area was redeveloped as the John McGovern Campus Park, which included space dedicated to youth sports fields, a public library branch, a new YMCA, a day center for senior citizens, and a private park and walking trail. The 7.5 acres dedicated to youth sports fields was initially developed into two baseball fields and a softball field, to be utilized by Braes Bayou Little League, West University Little League, and West University Softball Association. Following the merger of the Braes Bayou and West University Little Leagues in 2005, the baseball and softball leagues that played at McGovern Park formed Greater West University Area Sports Association, which purchased the sports fields and has operated and maintained the land and facilities ever since.
During the development of the fields at McGovern Park, the families at the heart of SLRA recognized that those fields alone would not be sufficient to accommodate the needs of the area’s growing youth sports organizations. In the face of shrinking public acreage available for youth sports league use, and with the knowledge and experience gained in the development of McGovern Park, community leaders recognized the compelling need for a more permanent solution. The area’s youth sports organizations needed a sizable property, which could be privately purchased and developed, free of the threat of those facilities ever being lost or taken away. In 1998, a number of local families personally guaranteed a bank loan so that SLRA could purchase 75 acres of land just east of Stella Link Boulevard, just south of the 610 South Loop. South Campus was born.
Using the McGovern Campus Park as a model, SLRA sold 12 acres at the northwest corner of the original South Campus tract to a group that founded and built the Emery Weiner School. At the other end of the tract, a smaller portion of the land was sold for the development of the St. Catherine’s Montessori School. In 2003, the South Campus Sports Association was formed as a separate section 501(c)(3) organization by four area youth sports leagues—West University Little League, Braes Bayou Little League, West University Softball Association, and the Near Town Soccer Club—with the singular purpose of purchasing and developing the remaining acreage. Later in 2003, the Southwest Football League and Houston Youth Lacrosse joined the South Campus family. Now, more than a decade and a half later, as a result of thousands of volunteer hours of planning, fundraising, and execution, the 55-acre South Campus Sports Complex provides real fields of dreams for more than 5,000 Houston-area children annually, providing fully equipped, state-of-the-art, lighted facilities for youth baseball, soccer, softball, football, and lacrosse practices and games.
The current members of South Campus Sports Association are RISE Soccer Club (RISE SC), West University Little League (WULL), West University Softball Association (WUSA), Southwest Football League (SFL), and Houston Youth Lacrosse (HYLAX).
South Campus Sports Association Today
Thanks to the generous donations from area families, corporations, and charitable foundations, the SCSA development is complete and encompasses the following:
· 6 baseball fields
· 5 softball fields
· 4 soccer fields and 3 futsol courts
· 3 football/lacrosse fields and press boxes
· 3 concessions stand and restroom facilities
The fields and facilities at South Campus are used year-round by over 5,000 area youth. All five member leagues have hosted youth tournaments over the past few years—allowing countless families throughout Texas to enjoy the top-notch fields and facilities at South Campus.