Northern Kentucky University hosted the dedication of the new NKU Soccer Stadium while the men’s and women’s soccer teams hosted Ashland University on Sept. 19.
The dedication of the field took place between the end of the men’s game and the beginning of the women’s. The ceremony consisted of Athletic Director Scott Eaton, University President James Votruba, Mayor of Highland Heights Greg Meyers and Vice President of Student Affairrs Zebulun Davenport. Senior forward Stephen Beattie and senior midfielder Maggie Smith also spoke.
The new soccer field is a $6.5 million facility that is currently the new home of both the men’s and women’s soccer teams at NKU. The field is made of state-of-the-art artificial turf, and is a Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup style field. This means that the field is 120 yards long and 80 yards wide. The seating capacity at the new field allows the stadium to seat approximately 1,000 people, and has a state-of-the- art concession stand. There is also a luxury box, known as the “Founders Suite,” that sits in the middle of the stadium stands and includes a deck.
“When (the University of Cincinnati) came to play here, they said (the NKU Soccer Stadium) was easily ranked in the top two or three soccer fields in the Big East,” Beattie said.
Plans for the stadium began under the administration of former Athletic Director Jane Meier. For the past 10 seasons, both the men’s and women’s soccer teams have been very successful in NCAA Division II play, but hosted their home games off campus at Town and Country in Wilder, Ky.
This forced the Norse to schedule games and practices during times available at the facility since other groups and leagues called Town and Country their home as well. The on-campus field allows NKU to schedule games at times convenient for fans to attend, which the university hopes will drive up attendance.
“We are so very excited to move our soccer matches back to campus,” Eaton said during his speech on he field. “This has lead to larger crowds, more student involvement and an incredible atmosphere for the participating teams.”
The NKU Soccer Field will not only be home to the men’s and women’s regular season games, but NKU also hopes to host many other events in the future, including high school district, regional and state championships as well as NCAA championships, according to Eaton.
One of the hopes is that the stadium will help recruiting for both the men’s and women’s soccer teams. Along with the Bank of Kentucky Center, NKU now has two new state-of-the-art facilities to offer incoming freshman athletes.
“Like the Bank of Kentucky Center right next door, this facility will serve as a marvelous recruiting tool for the university, by bringing elementary and high school students and their parents to the campus, in many cases, for the first time,” Votruba said.
Story by Nick Jones