Long Beach State called a press conference Thursday to announce the construction of a new clubhouse for the women’s soccer and softball teams. The $3.5 million project will begin in January and should be finished in late summer.
Workers will break ground at the corner of the softball complex nearest to the entrance of George Allen Field, allowing for easy access for both teams and will include individual lockers, sports medicine space and team rooms for both programs. Both the soccer and softball programs move on from the days of using public locker rooms in the Kinesiology building and the Walter Pyramid for team meetings or sports medicine treatment.
“Even though we are financially constrained, the athletics department has always done so much with so little,” said university President Jane Close Conoley. “We want to thank everyone who’s supported us in this project.”
Doug and Sandra Leafstedt contributed $200,000 to get the ball rolling, which the university would match. At the unveiling it was announced that Deputy Athletics Director Cindy Masner would also contribute $50,000 to the project.
“This is going to flip the vision of what recruits and communities see when they come to soccer and softball games,” athletic director Andy Fee said.
Coaches of both programs expressed their gratitude and explained what it meant for the athletes to have a new facility.
“This is going to impact our student athletes by giving them a classroom to learn, but also be a place to unwind,” softball head coach Kim Sowder said.
Softball in particular had to keep all of its equipment in the dugout during the game, which led to less space and distracted players.
For women’s soccer head coach Mauricio Ingrassia, it was all about respect. The team spent its halftime under a pop-up canopy and sat on folding chairs.
“Getting this facility gives us a sign of respect for the players, coaches and all the alumni that built this program we have today,” Ingrassia said.
The goal of the athletics department is to continue to grow and build new facilities to accommodate student athletes.