The Yale men’s and women’s soccer teams found success at home last season, winning the majority of their games in the comfort of Reese Stadium. But for the opening weeks of this year’s campaign, both programs have been homeless, as their turf undergoes renovations.
The renovations, due to be completed in the next week, will ultimately provide a boost to both programs — as well as the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, which also call Reese Stadium home.
“The new turf provides incredible benefits, including a safer playing surface, while heating coils will help us avoid the build-up of ice and snow and reduce the number of times we need to plow the field,” Steve Conn, Yale’s director of sports publicity, said.
However, with the project yet to be completed, it has also caused a temporary inconvenience to both soccer teams, forcing them to make other arrangements for early-season practices.
The men’s team has also had to find a new home for its first two games. The Bulldogs’ opening contests against Niagara and Fairfield will be played at the Quinnipiac Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium in Hamden. The stadium, which was completed last September, seats 1,500 spectators. Even though the team has to travel up Interstate 91 for its first home games, head coach Kyle Stannard told the News that the renovation is only a minor inconvenience.
“Everything has worked out well so far and it’s been a team effort from everyone to make it all work positively,” Stannard said. “We have also had a couple of scrimmages at Quinnipiac to get ourselves used to that field for our first two home games, so that’s been really important for us to feel a little more comfortable there.”
Until the project is completed, the Bulldogs have been alternating practices between Frank Field — Yale football’s turfed practice venue — and the rugby field. Both fields are in close to proximity to Reese Stadium, allowing the Elis to continue to use the same shuttle service, locker rooms and training facilities as usual. The team has also recently returned from a 2 1/2-day preseason retreat, which allowed the team to bond and train off campus.
Unlike the men’s soccer team, the women’s team does not play its first home game until the second week of September. Posting a 6–0–2 record at home last season with three of those victories coming by way of a shutout, the women’s team will look forward to returning from a season-opening road trip to the friendly confines of Reese and the upgraded turf.
“When you have a really nice home field, it’s exciting for both the players and the spectators,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “It creates an atmosphere that is super exciting, and everyone is looking forward to start playing home games.”
The first home game at the newly renovated Reese Stadium will take place on Sept. 9, when the Yale women’s soccer team goes toe-to-toe with Marist. The men’s team will play its first game at Reese on Sept. 14 against Michigan State.
Caleb Rhodes contributed reporting.
Cristofer Zillo | email@example.com