HEAT Collaboration Turns Game Lights on at TAMIU

HEAT Collaboration Turns
Game Lights on at TAMIU

Let there be lights!

An Innovative business-University collaboration is going to illuminate some of Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) fields of dreams this Spring. (photo)

Vaswani Soccer Ventures, parent company of the Laredo HEAT Soccer Team and principal owners Shashi and Priya Vaswani, has entered into a collaborative agreement with TAMIU that will provide the University with much-needed permanent lighting for its soccer game field and practice field through a lease agreement. In turn, the University will make its fields available year-round for practice and game play by the HEAT.

TAMIU president Ray Keck said the collaboration has immediate impact on the University, its programs and its growth.

“This will provide us with an immediate opportunity to expand our sports programming at both recreational sports and NCAA Division II athletics levels. Our growth in this area had been hampered by limited use time for our fields, but the addition of permanent lighting recasts our capabilities in a much brighter light. This is terrific for our students and our community,”  Dr. Keck said.

“It also provides us with an opportunity to increase student usage of fields, making them available at more accessible times. Previously, it was difficult to schedule practice and games during the day when most classes are held. Field lighting will make more student-friendly afternoon and evening use possible. It will also allow us to offer competitive soccer games for our student athletes in the evenings instead of the usual full-day heat of the soccer season, encouraging game attendance and team support,” he added.

Shashi Vaswani, president, Vaswani Soccer Ventures, said he views the collaboration as a win-win opportunity.

“Our investment in lighting these fields clearly illustrates our continued commitment to our community and its youth. Our mission from day one has been to use the sport of Soccer as a vehicle to create opportunities for further education and/or possible soccer careers for our youth. This alliance, as well as other youth partnerships, is a pivotal part of achieving this objective as it allows us to expand our current youth program and launch a much-needed Youth Soccer Academy/Club in January 2008,” Vaswani said.

“As for our PDL team, we will now have the privilege of playing most of our games on an exceptionally high quality, soccer-specific field which is unrivalled not only in Laredo, but in surrounding counties as well. This will undoubtedly advance our team’s growth,” he continued.

“I would like to thank the University for believing in our vision and working closely with us to provide access and benefit to all involved. Undeniably, without their support and determination, none of this would have been possible. We are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with our hometown University and will do all that we can to promote its growth as well,” Vaswani concluded.

Under the agreement, developed by Elizabeth N. Martinez, TAMIU associate vice president for administration, the University and Vaswani Ventures coordinated access and use among all the users.

“Naturally, we worked very closely to develop a shared calendar which provides our athletics and recreational sports programming with priority scheduling for our students. We’ve put together a coordinated calendar which maximizes our resources for all parties admirably,” Martinez explained, noting that much of the Vaswani Ventures’ field use occurs when the University is not using them.

The University recently opened its Kinesiology, Wellness and Recreation Center, expanding its fitness activities to include co-rec flag football and co-rec soccer, both of which have doubled in participation.

TAMIU is an NCAA Division II campus and recently added Women’s softball to its 11 sports offerings.

Vaswani Soccer Ventures is the parent company of the 2007 United Soccer League’s (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) North American Champions, the Laredo HEAT Soccer Club. Shashi Vaswani is president while Priya Vaswani is vice president. Juan Vela is chief operating officer.

The Vaswanis and Vela also lead the popular Laredo Heat Youth Soccer Association and the new Laredo Heat Youth Soccer Club/Academy. Both non-profit organizations are the only state-affiliated soccer programs in Laredo and provide soccer camps, teams and play and personal growth opportunities for youth.

For additional information, contact Martinez at 326.2380 or visit TAMIU offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 269.

For more information on Vaswani Soccer Ventures, call 723-4700.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu