Kings Hammer breaks ground in Clermont County
By Kelly Doran
The ground breaking of the Kings Hammer Soccer Club at the Red Barn facility on May 7 was not just significant for the village of Batavia and the county, but for the Ruebel family as well.
In a letter to his son, Nick, before he died, Nick Ruebel Sr. wrote that while he was leaving unfinished business, he knew that his wife, Joyce, and his son would carry on his legacy.
“With Kings Hammer’s help and all these people here, it’s going to happen,” Joyce Ruebel said.
May 7 is Nick Ruebel Sr.’s 80th birthday, Joyce Ruebel said.
“We’re really proud to help fulfill that vision,” Kings Hammer president Jeff Berding said of Nick Ruebel Sr.’s dream.
Kings Hammer is a not-for-profit soccer club, club president Jeff Berding said. The club has 2,000 players and a little more than a $2 million operating budget.
The club’s biggest tournament is the Blue Chip College Showcase Tournament, which is the biggest college showcase in the Midwest. It brings in several hundred teams and several hundred coaches to see the players, Berding said.
Kings Hammer has been seeking a home base for the past couple of years for tournaments and showcases, Berding said.
The tournaments bring in thousands of players and families that need hotels, movie theaters, restaurants and places to shop, Berding said.
“Soccer is the world’s sport,” Berding said. He believes soccer is becoming more and more popular in America.
The Kings Hammer facility will benefit the children in the county with great soccer facilities and citizens of the village and the county with added traffic, visibility and retail purchases, said Chris Smith, former director of the CVB.
“We are going to be the beneficiary of lodging tax, of sales tax, which is the preemptive revenue source for local government, and gas tax with all those folks coming to visit,” Smith said.
In addition, visitors bring in revenue without requiring public services and burdening the constituency, Smith said.
The CVB is estimating that the five-year economic impact on the region will be $28,122,600. In addition, 16 events should use about 13,200 room nights per year, according to information provided by the CVB.
The groundbreaking is very exciting for the village, Mayor John Thebout said. He hopes Kings Hammer will have a big impact here.
“It is really great to have you all here and to have soccer come to Batavia and to Clermont County. We heard about the economic impacts, they are tremendous. The ripple effect that will affect all of Clermont County is absolutely fantastic,” Clermont County Commissioner Ed Humphrey said.
The Ruebel family bought the property in 2000, Nick Ruebel said. The addition of Kings Hammer is the largest commitment the family has made to the property so far.
The family was introduced to Kings Hammer two years ago by the Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau and reached an agreement at the end of last year. They are looking forward to their relationship with Kings Hammer, Nick Ruebel said.
Kings Hammer is building 13 regulation size fields and plans to open in April 2016 with the Blue Chip College Showcase, said Berding and club vice president Tim Bronsil.
Construction began for the fields as soon as the ground thawed, Berding said.
Kings Hammer will hold competitions 16 weekends a year, CVB director Mark Calitri said in February. The other weekends the CVB and the Ruebel family will work together to book events.
“This is a wonderful, wonderful day,” Joyce Ruebel said.