This archived article was written by: Austin Fietkau
Spring is the season for planting seeds, and for Utah State University Eastern’s soccer program, that’s exactly what they’re doing: preparing land for some new grass.
Before the first snow fall of 2016, a square patch of ground at the corner of 700 North and 500 East, north of the current soccer field, was leveled in preparation for two new soccer fields.
As soon as weather permits, the sprinkling system will be installed, the grass planted and a perimeter fence will be built. Another parking lot will be built on the south side of the fields, which will have a capacity of housing almost 130 vehicles.
While the finishing touches may take more time, it is anticipated that the fields will be ready to play on by the start of 2017 fall semester, just in time for soccer season.
In previous years, both the men and women’s soccer team have had training sessions on the two patches of grass in the center of campus in an effort to preserve the game field. This situation has not been ideal, said head coach Ammon Bennett, as the field between the library and the BDAC, as well as the field between the library and the Aaron Jones dormitory are much smaller than regulation size.
The two new fields will allow for “more space and better practice sessions,” Bennett says.
He plans to reserve one of the new fields strictly for official games, while the other, along with the old field, will serve as training fields.
With the drainage problems the old field has had, it has been determined that making one of the new fields to be the game field will eliminate any potential “headache” that could come on game day.
A prime example of such headaches occurred during the 2016 season. Intense rain caused the current game field to retain more than 50,000 gallons of standing water. The grounds keepers attempted to remove the water, but after 24 hours of pumping, it was still decided the game could not be played on the field and was instead moved to Carbon High School.
Such circumstances will hopefully be avoided with the construction of the new fields.
It has not been determined at this point exactly what the athletic department will do with the lower field’s bleachers and scoreboard. “I don’t think we’ll buy new ones for the upper field,” Bennett said. His thoughts are that the school will end up moving the current scoreboard, along with the bleachers, to the upper fields.
In addition to these renditions, Bennett said there may be some “bigger” plans for the current soccer field, which lies just north of the BDAC.
“Eventually I’d like to see that field turf,” he said. While no definite dates, budgets or blue-prints have been put together at this point, Bennett argues that putting in a turf field with a dome would not only benefit the soccer teams. “We’d put a bubble over it so that it could be easily be used by baseball and softball as well.”
Editor’s note: Associate Vice Chancellor Eric Mantz did not return The Eagle’s request for information for this story.