The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Bright ideas set for future of Matador Field

Renovations to the Matador soccer field next to Redwood Hall and the tennis courts are needed to further advance the athletics program and gather community support for CSUN athletics, according to officials now planning the improvements.

“The soccer field has an excellent playing surface and that’s at the core of an outdoors facility like that, and so that was the primary focus when it was created,” said Janet Lucas, interim athletic director at CSUN. “It’s in a great location. From there we can continue to get better and develop the facility even further.”

Some players on the men and women’s soccer teams would agree with regards to the quality of the playing surface itself.

“I actually really like our soccer field,” said junior midfielder Vanessa Crowell. “I like the thickness of the grass and how big (the playing surface) is. I have always enjoyed playing on our game field.”

Many of the planned improvements, however, have more to do with infrastructure, such as lighting and seating, and not with the grass itself.

Planned renovations to Matador Field include a permanent grandstand and ticket booth, concession facility and a new scoreboard. Of the current needs, many agree that the most significant would be the addition of lights to the field.

Junior midfielder Taylor Canel said he believes that adding lights to the field would get more fans to attend to the games and that it is always a good thing to have fans behind the team. He said it is the most significant of the field’s needs.

“It sets a better atmosphere,” Canel said.

The school currently does not schedule night games because of the lack of lighting.

“Adding lighting to the facility will be extremely important for a variety of different reasons, including attracting people to the venue and to the games and supporting the soccer program,” Lucas said. “It is also important to the soccer team itself because the ability to play at six or seven o’clock at night, especially in August and September when it is extremely warm, will help them tremendously.”

She added that the planned improvements offer additional opportunities for hosting post-season play, something that has been an issue in the past.

Lucas said that years ago the men’s soccer team was able to play on the North Campus at night. Large crowds were there in support of the team, she said.

The first game played at Matador Field was on Sept. 15, 2002. The men’s soccer team beat Fresno State, 2-0.

Of all the athletic facilities on campus, it is the newest. The field’s temporary bleachers seat about 800 people.

Lucas said that CSUN rents bleachers every fall for seating, therefore limiting year-round capacity. Lucas said she believes the installation of permanent seating is more beneficial than rental bleachers.

“When you can put permanent bleachers in a facility you can do more with the seating,” said Lucas. “You can also assist with the ambience of the facility.”

Many players on the soccer teams agree that permanent seating would also help to create more fan support for the teams.

“Permanent seating and lights would be great, so we could get sold out seats every game,” said junior star-forward Willie Sims. “(We) get people that want to come to the games, but do to the (times), have fans that can’t make it.”

Men’s soccer home games average an attendance of less than 500 fans per game, while the women’s team averages less than 250. Both teams are on pace for record seasons.

There are a number of ways to help fix this problem.

“First it starts with the development of the facility,” Lucas said. “Then you adjust your marketing efforts to accommodate the students, so with lighting you automatically have an entire new group. Then you adjust your marketing plan to make sure the people are aware of the event and than they (will) want to come to the different events that are being sponsored through the facility.”

Lucas said there are a number of reasons why improvements to the field are important.

“Its important to do it for the development of the soccer program, the development of the athletics program, the connection to the student body, and the connection to the community,” Lucas said. “Its mutually beneficial in a lot of different ways. It’s not just for one reason. It also helps us improve revenue, which helps us run the athletic program.”

Presently, a set date for improvements does not existent, largely due to funding. Lucas believes that progress is being made to acquire the necessary funds.

Lucas did mention that men and women’s soccer head coach Terry Davila is connected to the San Fernando Valley’s soccer community, and that he is actively trying to find a donor to fund the installation of lights.

“We have someone willing to donate the lights, but we have to find funding for the installation and engineering study, and the other aspects of that are involved in adding lights to the facility,” Lucas said.

Like the Matadome and the improvements that will be made there, Lucas said soccer games would not be affected once improvements begin.

“Adding lights to the facility can easily be done in the off-season,” Lucas said. “In the spring (the teams) would be practicing on the practice field and not on the competition field, so it wouldn’t disrupt their spring situation.”

Lucas acknowledged the priority improving the soccer field because she knows the significance that CSUN soccer has on this campus and in the Valley.

“We know the support is there in the Valley for soccer and we have a tremendous product, so we just have to be able to offer an appropriate venue and an appropriate game time and that connection will redevelop pretty easily,” Lucas said.

John Barundia can be reached at

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