Nike Football Training Center in South Africa by RUF Project and Nike Global Football

Situated in the heart of Soweto, the Football Training Centre is the centre of football in South Africa, where 1200 teams and 20,000 footballers play each year. In less than 6 months, the facility was transformed into a state of the art football training centre – the first of its kind in Africa, and the rest of the world.

Designed by the Canadian firm, RUF project (who designed both the exterior and interior of the center) in conjunction with the Nike Global Football Brand Design, the facility encompasses 2 new full sized artificial pitches, 2 junior turf pitches, new lighting, a clubhouse & player lounge, an education facility for the Grass Roots Soccer & Life Skills program, a Training Gym, Physio & First Aid facility, a Product Trial, Catering, Administrative Offices, Viewing Deck and new Change Rooms. The Clubhouse & Player’s Lounge house regular and in-depth tips and insights from Nike Athletes & Coaches and a place for coaches and players to focus on the tactical and strategic aspects of the game.

The concept was to create a clear but intricately woven relationship of spaces, linking the programmes of facility through visual connections created by cuts in the solid mass of the rectangular structure. Each room has views to and from other areas of the building which creates an intricate and selective transparency between functions. The facility has been design from the outset for and around the player, supporting the various aspects of their day. Everything has been considered to make the facility flow and remain open, and at the same time manage the reality of creating a secure and safe place to play football. The gym, product trial and catering functions have operable facades, opening them up to the field directly to the fields, and a player’s tunnel bisects the main building creating a direct connection from the change rooms with the field for the players.

The facade is clad in a local sandstone, and wrapped with a local timber louvre structure to mitigate the solar heat gain to the west, north and east facades. Cantilevering over the pitches, the overhang provides shade before and after the game. The south facade has it’s sandstone exposed and houses a growing list of players who distinguish themselves on and off the pitch – their names permanently apart of the building and its future. The intent of the project was to provide a lasting home for football in the dynamic neighbourhood of Soweto would continue on past the world cup.

School kids in action during the Nike Community Schools Project
©Johan Rynners/Backpagepix
24th June 2010 Nike Cup Jozi at the Nike Football Training Centre Soweto
©Johan Rynners/BackpagePix
Players in action during the Nike Jozi Cup
20th June 2010 Nike Football Training Centre Soweto
©Allan James Lipp/BackpagePix
GV of the stadium during the Nike Jozi Cup
  • Architects: RUF Project
  • Location: Soweto, Johannesburg  South Africa
  • Project Team:
    • Architect in charge: Sean Pearson
    • Local Architect: MMA Architects
    • Lead Architect: Luyanda Mpahlwa
    • Creative Director: Andy Walker
  • Interior Décor:
    • Architect in charge: Sean Pearson
    • Local Architect: MMA Architects
    • Lead Architect: Luyanda Mpahlwa
    • Creative Director: Andy Walker
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographer: Julian Abrams, Allan James
  • Local Graphic Agency: Grid Worldwide Branding & Design
  • Project Manager: Lynette Mollet
Subscribe to stay updated on featured projects, design news and insights across Africa.

I have read and agree to the privacy policy