Alumni contribute to new soccer/lacrosse field

Linfield’s proposal to build a new soccer and lacrosse field, replacing the current field that was constructed in the mid-’90s, before spring 2020 is taking shape as the school develops plans and receives funding.

Thanks to a donor brunch and a Hall of Fame banquet on Nov. 16 after the home football game against George Fox, Linfield secured another $300,000 in commitments for funding the new soccer and lacrosse field.

This significant contribution puts the collected total at $730,000. The estimated cost to construct the complex is $1.4 million.

The new soccer/lacrosse field will replace the current grass with artificial turf and will be accompanied with 0ther additions.

During the process of planning and funding the field, women’s head soccer coach Steve Simmons praises the alumni who are making the entire project possible.

“There are no alumni like Linfield alumni, trust me,” Simmons said. “They are just as passionate about getting the field built as us coaches.”

While $1.4 million may still seem like a distant goal, Simmons is optimistic that the figure is reachable thanks to donors, alumni and athletic director Garry Killgore, who has led the push.

“We all feel that once the shovel goes into the ground… it’s the first step in a much larger process,” said Simmons. “But we have to go one step at a time.”

“This will be monumental for more than just soccer and lacrosse. All Linfield programs will feel the effect.”

Simmons believes this project could build momentum for other sports teams that also want to develop new fields and facilities. The field will not only provide space for other teams to practice, but will also present the opportunity for a more robust intramural program. 

Simmons said the athletic department still hopes to have the field completed prior to the start of the lacrosse season in spring 2020. If the field is finished before the summer, it will accommodate the Olympic development soccer camp that Linfield plans to host. 

The athletic department is finalizing the specific details of the field and its accessories, but are planning to make space for a team room and an updated press box, as well as branded fencing and a decorative gate.

“Building a new field will make a huge difference for the men’s and women’s soccer programs.”

— Cesar Cruz-Espindola

Because the current field is built on top of clay, heavy rain prevents the irrigation system from draining properly. This causes the grass to get torn up easily and has given athletes and coaches plenty of headaches.

“Back when I coached here in 2000, we had scenarios where the game field was unplayable and we had to move games to alternative sites,” said Simmons. “Since then, I know it’s still been an issue.”

The complex is built on top of clay, which can clog the irrigation system and prevent water from draining properly. When the first big rain comes, water sits on top of the clay, and if a game is played, the grass gets torn up. The new field will have an artificial surface made of field turf.

“Our current field is always in good condition at the beginning of the season, but when it starts to rain, it can get muddy or patchy,” said sophomore men’s soccer player Cesar Cruz-Espindola. “Building a new field will make a huge difference for the men’s and women’s soccer programs.”

Simmons is grateful that the inclement weather was minimal over the last few weeks of the season and that conditions were playable.

But since the new field will be made of artificial turf, Simmons and the athletes look forward to not needing luck to have a usable field.