In the two and a half weeks that school has been in session, St. Edward’s University has yet to see a true home athletic event due Lewis Chen Family Field being inaccessible for soccer games.
“It’s been very frustrating,” SEU Athletic Director Debbie Taylor said. “I’m frustrated mostly for the players and the fans, because there’s been three home games now that we should have been here that we’ve had to play elsewhere.”
However, SEU Athletics announced today that the field will be ready for the women’s soccer game on Thursday at 3 p.m against Lubbock Christian University.
At the beginning of August, just before the soccer teams returned for preseason practice, SEU cut about 7,000 square feet of the grass out of the field to be replaced with new grass, which St. Edward’s does almost annually to combat wear-and-tear that happens to certain parts of the field each season.
Heavy rains then flooded the field, preventing the grass roots from harvesting properly. Once the water level receded, the newly installed grass had to be redone nearing the start of the school year, Taylor said.
As a result, the SEU men’s and women’s soccer teams have had to sacrifice home field advantage, and play their first few “home games” of the season at other universities’ fields in Central Texas.
The men’s soccer team hosted Fort Lewis College on Sept. 9 at Texas Lutheran University’s soccer field in Seguin, and Colorado Mesa University on Sept. 11 at the St. Mary’s University soccer field in San Antonio.
“It’s been a little rough traveling for our home games, but basically we’re not to complain about it,” said Jack Blanton, SEU men’s soccer team captain. “It is what it is, and we just have to get on with it.”
On the women’s side, they have only had to reschedule one home game, when they hosted New Mexico Highlands University on Sept. 3 at Texas State University soccer field in San Marcos.
Taylor says the student-athletes and coaching staff have shown a lot of grace throughout this unexpected situation.
Team practices have been taking place on the lower, smaller field that is usually reserved for the club and intramural teams. Also, some players have had to miss more class time than usual to travel for not only the away games – but the home ones too.
Securing fields for these game relocations has also been a logistical stress for Athletics, as they have to be considerate of other nearby university teams’ home schedules. Taylor adds that the Athletics Dept. is grateful to the other universities that have allowed the Hilltoppers to use their natural grass fields during this time.
Despite all the field inconsistencies and lack of home-crowd spirit, the men’s soccer team is undefeated at 4-0, and the women’s soccer team holds a 2-1 overall record.
“It’s been a bit of a challenge for us, playing on the road,” Blanton said. “But at the end of the day, all we need though is a soccer pitch and a ball – and I think we’ll be just fine.”