By Emily Crosby | firstname.lastname@example.org
With the 2014 soccer season well under way, the Flagler College men’s and women’s soccer teams have to play with no stadium around their field.
The construction of the new stadium bleachers for Saints Field, located next to Drysdale Field, was supposed to be completed in August 2013. Due to unforeseen complications, the building of the stadium has been delayed. Jud Damon, Flagler’s director of athletics, said he is “cautiously optimistic” that Oct. 1 will be the new completion date.
The company constructing the stadium builds the bleachers in Orlando, Fla., and then ships them to St. Augustine, Fla. The latest complication was due to a delay in obtaining materials for the bleachers understructure. The Flagler College Athletic Department is doing everything in their power to move construction along quickly, including calling the construction company daily as well as building what they can on site.
The new stadium is just one of many projects to revamp Saints Field. As of now, the field, sound system, press box, scoreboard, windscreens and locker rooms had all been reconstructed. Also, the new stadium will be equipped with special features such as more comfortable seating, as well as giving individuals the ability to purchase a seat, premier row or appear on the “Friends of Flagler” wall.
“The intention is to make it a great experience for the people coming to the games and make it a great experience for the people playing the games,” Damon said. The new stadium will also hold over 300 more seats than before.
The bigger stadium was needed in large part due to the success of Flagler’s soccer teams, but it has also been something Damon wanted since being hired back in 2009. On a negative note, he expects the construction to interfere with crowd sizes at soccer games. Dempsey Hall, junior forward for the women’s soccer team, shares Damon’s concerns about game attendance.
“The unfinished stands present another obstacle in boosting student attendance, as many students do not stay for the entire game because they do not want to stand for two hours,” Hall said.
Limited seating is available to the right of the far goal, and while parts of the field may be difficult to see at times, it does not deter some fans from attending.
“I am only there to support and watch the beautiful game,” Flagler College sophomore Abigail Spencer said, “and worrying about seeing the scoreboard should not take away from watching the game that I love.”