Tim Jacobson, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau, alongside other XO Strategic members met Aug. 20 and 21 in Camdenton and Lake Ozark respectively to talk with members of the community about their ideas for a soccer complex center at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Tim Jacobson, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau, alongside other XO Strategic members met Aug. 20 and 21 in Camdenton and Lake Ozark respectively to talk with members of the community about their ideas for a soccer complex center at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Jacobson opened the floor with an introduction announcing the commencement of the project and handed the mic to Greg Cotton, President of XO Strategic. Cotton was one of the five leading speakers during the meetings that laid out a number of areas of consideration for attending community members to discuss. Included on the panel were Vincent Gauthier, Development Expert, Paige Perlik, Partnership Expert, David Ficklin, Sports Complex Design and Construction Expert and Shane Hackett, XO Strategic Partner.

In Camdenton, nearly 30 community members were in attendance. Much of the discussion held by the panel included information as to why the Lake of the Ozarks was an ideal location to house the complex. Cotton did stress how the panel members were in no way trying to sway a decision, but rather share their research up to this point which reflected on the area in question.

A key point made was having the infrastructure available to handle the increase in traffic brought to the area by the complex. With weekend long tournaments needing thousands of hotel rooms and eating establishments ready, it would be a boom of economy, but the area would have to be prepared. Hackett, who alongside Cotton has been a part of numerous soccer field projects, said that in their preliminary research, the lake seems to be readily equipped for this.

Cotton says that the growth of tourism would be steady, but wherever the destination would inevitably land, the municipalities would have to be ready to face a slow start. In all projects they have worked on, all have ended up making a large profit or at the very least breaking even. None have failed financially to this point.

Some community members raised the question of when the busiest part of soccer play would be throughout the year. Hackett explained that the hot season for soccer is in two parts: between March and June and between August and November. The inbetween shoulder seasons are something that they felt needed looking into to find a best solution to buffer these seasons and maximize usage.

Within these soccer destinations, there would be much more than just a grouping of soccer fields. Cotton showcased a number of concept designs from other active projects and showed how the entire destination area would be filled with amenities, including restrooms, parking, and concessions. In some examples, space was utilized to house apartment complexes or hotels to fit more housing within the area.

Many times, Hackett explained that they would use a “Stay and Play” system which would emphasize families making the trip for soccer tournaments to utilize the area for their needs. He said they have also made marketing deals with hotels to secure rooms for families coming for tournaments restrict them to only using certain, partnered hotels.

Much of the discussion remained the same at the Lake Ozark meeting, though some new concerns were brought forward. One attending member brought up the failed Ballpark of the Ozarks project and how the panel planned to pace a safety blanket on this development to make sure funds were ready throughout the entire process without running out.

Cotton responded by stating that this is the reason why having a profit-oriented developer running the complex would be beneficial instead of the municipality itself. He says that many times, municipality leaders will not put profits first as a developer might, leading to issues in project completion.

Overall, the panel stressed that the main importance of this complex would by the steady increase in tourism and the promotion of soccer within the state and immediate area. With soccer on the rise across the country and international players looking toward bolstering US teams, Hackett believes this is a major opportunity to bring in people from all over the world. Also, with the US hosting part of the 2026 World Cup, the development timeline would hit that window and possibly gain a boost.

XO Strategic will complete their entire study on the complex over the next 90 days and will come back with a location recommendation and final opinions as to whether or not they believe the project will be financially successful.