Those who don’t drive U.S. 35 around Xenia or have kids playing sports might have missed one of the largest and most unique sports complexes in the region.
Tucked away in the southeast corner of Xenia is the Athletes in Action Sports Complex and Retreat Center, which coexists with the Legacy Center on 235 acres that was built as a home for Civil War orphans in 1870.
The property was home to more than 13,500 orphans over the years and ceased operation in 1997. The land and buildings were purchased in 1999 by Legacy Ministries International and the Legacy Christian Academy PreK through 12 school was opened in the same year.
Soon after, Athletes in Action moved its world headquarters to the Legacy Center and began planning for the Athletes in Action Sports Complex and Retreat Center.
“Athletes in Action is now celebrating its 52nd year as the sports branch of Campus Crusade for Christ,” said SCRC director Dean Bouzeos, who took over this role in 2014
AIA recruits college or post-college athletes to form sports teams that compete and minister to others.
“Last year, we sent over 30 American teams to international locations on mission trips. They get a great experience going internationally serving in missions ... and it shares the good news of Jesus Christ to a world that needs him,” Bouzeos said.
AIA trains athletes in nine sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, track, soccer, swimming, football, volleyball and sports performance.
The sprawling sports complex consists of synthetic turf fields for soccer, football, baseball and softball. An all-weather, eight-lane track, two volleyball courts and a team-building rope course that is 40 feet in the air are included.
The Retreat Center has five dorms that can accommodate about 300 people and a banquet hall that will seat 900 with onsite catering service.
The AIA Sports Complex is also home to local school teams, club teams and college teams. Legacy Christian Academy hosts track, baseball and soccer at AIA. Ohio Galaxies and Buckeye Soccer Clubs call AIA home, and Sinclair Community College utilizes the baseball and softball as their home fields. The Ohio Athletic Association has utilized the baseball field for State Tournament play.
In the past year, more than 500 teams with 12,000 athletes have played at the facility, according to Bouzeos.