Courtesy of Yale Athletics

Almost three years after Yale men’s lacrosse won the National Championship and two years after Yale men’s soccer won the Ivy League title, the men’s and women’s lacrosse and soccer programs moved into their brand new, state-of-the-art facility last spring. 

Joseph C. Tsai ’86, LAW ’90 and his wife, Clara Wu Tsai, funded the construction of the Tsai Lacrosse Field House, which opened on May 31, 2021. This is not the first Yale building in Tsai’s name. The Tsai Center of Innovative Thinking at Yale was founded in 2017 and opened its doors to students at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.

Tsai, who played lacrosse at Yale, has a long history of supporting sports. Not only is he the current owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, but he also owns the San Diego Seals, a box lacrosse team in the National Lacrosse League, or NLL. Additionally, Tsai is the owner of the future Las Vegas franchise of the NLL. The Alibaba co-founder is also a major investor in Premier Lacrosse League as well as Major League Soccer team Los Angeles FC. 

“I hope that when our student-athletes come into the building, they will always remember the values of sacrifice, improvement and being as ONE: Only Need Everybody,” Tsai told Yale Athletics

Due to the pandemic, the official opening and dedication ceremony is postponed until spring 2022. Yale Associate Athletics Director Mike Gambardella declined to comment on the cost of the project.

The eco-friendly 34,800-square-foot facility includes locker rooms, coaches’ offices, a film room, team center and a VIP viewing area, along with spaces for athletic medicine, hydrotherapy and strength and conditioning training.

“The new facility truly allows us to help maximize our time together in one location,” men’s head soccer coach Kylie Stannard told Yale Athletics. “It provides everything we need to support the entire student-athlete experience at an elite level.” 

Prior to the opening of the Field House, Smilow Field Center, a seven-minute walk from Reese Stadium, used to house the lacrosse and soccer facilities. With the Tsai Lacrosse Field House located adjacent to Reese Stadium, members of the lacrosse and soccer teams can now go directly from their locker rooms to the field in just a few steps. 

According to women’s lacrosse captain Kelsey Dunn ’22, the locker rooms in the older facility pale in comparison to the locker rooms in the new Field House. 

“Previously in Smilow, our lockers were in rows, and now it is an open circle which allows us to all see each other and have a more open feel to the room,” Dunn said. “Our coach, Erica LaGrow, also had a hand in designing our lockers, so, needless to say, they are incredible.” 

The more than 2,000-square-foot athletic medicine area includes hydrotherapy pools, an aquatic treadmill, physicians’ offices and diagnostics space with X-ray and DEXA scan equipment. By providing student-athletes with easy access to athletic medicine, it encourages them to spend time taking preventive measures to avoid injury.

The field house’s strength and conditioning center totals 6,610 square feet and contains Sorinex custom racks and Black Iron Strength dumbbells with CuLEAN by CuVerro antimicrobial copper handles that kill 99.9 percent of all germs. 

The new facility not only benefits current players, but it is also a game-changer for the future of Yale’s lacrosse and soccer programs. 

“The facility really will put Yale Lacrosse on the map for years to come. For the women’s program especially, it will help in drawing more talent to the program,” Dunn said.

Both women’s and men’s soccer teams will be taking on Brown this Saturday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. These games against the Bears will be the Bulldogs’ final home games of the season.

Rosa Braceras covers Women’s Ice Hockey, Softball, and other sports news. She is a senior in Benjamin Franklin College majoring in History.