UNO to make perfect pitch for soccer

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New pitch soon will transform UNO’s athletic facilities into one of the finest soccer complexes in this country.

In the United States, the word “pitch” often is associated with America’s favorite pastime, baseball.

But in many other countries, “pitch” refers to the surface where soccer – the world’s most popular sport – is played.

And such a “pitch” soon will transform UNO’s athletic facilities into one of the finest soccer complexes in this country.

UNO and the University of Nebraska Foundation are “closing in” on their fundraising goal for the first phase of a project to repurpose Caniglia Field into a state-of-the-art soccer complex, said UNO Associate Athletic Director Mike Kemp.

The complex will become the home of UNO’s Division I men’s and women’s soccer teams in the heart of campus. It also will accommodate the growing demand for intramural and recreation space on campus and will be used for community events.

This project is part of UNO’s plan to enrich its campus life and expand outreach to the community.

“With our move to Division I and the addition of men’s soccer, it is critical that we invest in support facilities for our student-athletes, so they can develop and mature as college athletes and as young men and women,” Kemp said.

“But this facility will not only assist our soccer programs, it will enhance the collegiate experience for all UNO students and be a great asset for the local community, especially for youth soccer.”

The first phase, a $1.2 million project, calls for redeveloping Caniglia Field into an NCAA-regulation sized soccer pitch. This requires removal of the existing turf, the north and east grandstands and the track that encircles the field.

UNO hopes to have teams playing on the new field by the middle of this summer.

In the future, Caniglia Field’s concession space will be renovated. So will the west grandstands, the locker rooms and the main-entry plaza.

Both UNO head soccer coaches view the new facility as an important element to their teams’ success in Division I.

“Creating a state-of-the-art soccer facility will be a monumental improvement,” said Don Klosterman, UNO women’s soccer coach. “The new pitch will add to our tradition especially now in Division I.”

The UNO women’s soccer program has a history of success. They’ve earned four trips to the Division II national semifinals and a national championship all under Klosterman.

Said Jason Mims, the head UNO men’s soccer coach: “This soccer complex will be a crucial part of building a nationally known Division I men’s soccer team that competes at the highest level.”

Mims joined UNO in 2011 to build the first men’s soccer program in the University of Nebraska system.

The new soccer complex will also be a source of pride and recognition for UNO and Omaha.

Said Kemp: “With the completion of this facility, UNO will have one of the finest soccer facilities in the nation. It will be a facility that will enhance the lives of our students, our athletes and the Omaha sports community at large.”

If you would like to help, please consider giving online to the UNO Maverick Soccer Complex Fund or contact the foundation’s Terry Hanna at 800-432-3216.

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