Field of Dreams: Surf Cup Sports Park
Surf Cup Sports Park in Del Mar Offers Active History
Surf Cup Sports Park
Del Mar is home to world-class destinations, like pristine, sandy beaches and the famed racetrack that draws thousands of people each year. Del Mar is also home to the 114-acre Polo Fields rented from the city––or, at least, they were considered Polo Fields until last year, when Surf Cup Sports became the new primary tenant.
Surf Cup Sports signed a $20k-per-month lease for the Polo Fields––now renamed Surf Cup Sports Park––in 2016. Though they’ve only been leaseholders for a little over a year, Surf Cup Soccer has played on the field for decades now. Says Jeremy McDonald, vice president of Surf Cup Sports and the president of Surf Soccer, “We’ve been at the property for 24 years as a subtenant. [Leasing the fields] was in our best interest.” The lease also includes a few stipulations, including that Surf Cup Sports must spend $7 million on renovations and $1 million on creating part of the Coast to Crest trail that stretches from Del Mar to Julian.
The San Diego Surf Cup showcases some of the best in local youth soccer––or, as McDonald puts it, Surf Cup Soccer is “one of the most prestigious soccer clubs in the country.” With thousands of attendees drawn to Del Mar each year, including college scouts and out-of-town spec- tators, Surf Cup Soccer brings revenue to the city––$14 million a year, according to Surf Cup Sports officials. The competitive company offers a variety of different youth soccer leagues based on age and gender, featuring some of the best players in the state.
The former leaseholders of the reputable Del Mar field––the San Diego Polo Club, who had held the lease
for 26 years––is another San Diego staple. Though they have recently been rebranded the San Diego Surf Polo Club (featuring the same management and polo club members, though the company’s shareholders have changed), polo has lived in Del Mar for 31 years now.
The 2017 polo season boasts improved facilities, inter- national games, grass polo tournaments and Sunday polo events. Opening day for the new season was June 11th, and it drew quite the crowd. “We had a record crowd in attendance,” says San Diego Surf Polo Club president and former founding member of the San Diego Polo Club Nour- Dean Anakar. “There were over 5,000 people there [on opening day], with a majority of the spectators people who had never seen polo before. There was food and music... [it was] a whole lot of fun!”
While the polo fields have been a constant in Del Mar, so too are the local resident complaints about traffic, noise and overcrowding on fields that were initially supposed to be used for community recreation only, not organized sports. Given that Surf Cup Sports is entering the 2nd year of a 28-year lease, these problems will likely not be fully alleviated anytime soon.
Regardless, the fields are a staple of the Del Mar land- scape, a gorgeous place to spend an afternoon. With Surf Cup Sports at the helm, there’s always something fun to see––a new game to experience––as the field continues to grow and develop in Surf Cup Sports’ capable hands. Says McDonald, “Surf Cup Sports runs a variety of events out of the property––lacrosse, polo and soccer... we have it all.”
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