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Huntsville names championship soccer complex in honor of former Mayor Loretta Spencer

Published on August 10, 2023

The Huntsville City Council approved an ordinance renaming the Championship Soccer Complex at John Hunt Park as the Loretta P. Spencer Sports Complex.

An avid sports enthusiast, Spencer served as Huntsville’s mayor from 1996 to 2008. During her tenure, she began a master planning process to convert the City’s old airport into John Hunt Park, established the Huntsville Sports Commission, and successfully recruited the first Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) State Soccer Championship to Huntsville in 2001.

closeup photo of a lady with gray-blonde hair wearing a bright blue dress
Former Huntsville Mayor Loretta P. Spencer

To acknowledge these accomplishments, District 4 Council Member Bill Kling proposed naming the park’s award-winning soccer facility in honor of Spencer’s role in shaping Huntsville’s future.

“It is my privilege to join Mayor Battle and other City Council Members in recognizing former Mayor Loretta Spencer,” Kling said. “By creating the Championship Soccer Complex and the Huntsville Sports Commission, Spencer has enabled the City to host numerous youth-related and high school championship soccer matches at this location.”

Mayor Tommy Battle further credited Spencer with setting the vision for John Hunt Park.

“Loretta looked ahead to the future and saw what John Hunt Park could become,” he said. “She was instrumental in shaping its destiny and the growth of sports in Huntsville. This recognition is well deserved.”

Spencer expressed her gratitude to the City Council for this honor.

“Forming the Sports Commission is one of the accomplishments I am proudest of,” she said. “Constructing the fields was critical in allowing us to recruit our first state soccer tournament to Huntsville. The Commission has continued to work diligently to bring outside dollars into our community and put us on the map in the sports tourism industry.”


When Spencer first landed the AHSAA State Soccer Championship 22 years ago, wrestling it away from a long run in Montgomery, the soccer complex at the old airport consisted of two mediocre fields and modest bleachers surrounded by an 8-foot chain link fence.

“It was fall 2000 and Mayor Spencer asked me if I could get championship fields ready by spring,” said Tony Ivey, Manager of Landscape Management. “At the time, there was no media building, no stadium seating, and no dressing rooms – all critical components of our commitment to AHSAA.”

Ivey says Spencer gave the departments everything they needed to be successful in upgrading the fields and building new facilities. The City even borrowed professional reel mower equipment to maintain the turf until it could afford to purchase its own.

At the State Soccer Championship, Spencer was fully present as Mayor and volunteer, greeting dignitaries, making centerpieces for the luncheon, picking up trash and even attempting to fix a faucet in the restroom.

“Details mattered to Mayor Spencer and she always gave it her all,” said Ivey.

Today the Loretta P. Spencer Sports Complex has two lighted championship multi-purpose turf fields and two new artificial turf fields under construction. These will be ready for tournament play in spring 2024.

green turf soccer fields separated by stadium lights, press box and team benches
By 2007, Huntsville’s championship soccer fields were garnering state awards for superior turf fields