The city of Wilmington could approve an agreement that would allow both the men’s and women’s soccer teams from Cape Fear Community College to play their home games at Legion Stadium for the next two years.
The teams, which both compete in Division I of the National Junior College Athletic Association, currently practice and host games at a soccer complex at the school’s North Campus. Due to last year’s extremely rainy season, several games had to be postponed or played at other fields in the area.
Having a home base at Legion Stadium, which has a turf field, would mitigate that.
“Legion Stadium’s synthetic turf allows for virtually unlimited play,” state the documents presented to city council as part of the resolution. “Relocating their home games to Legion Stadium will add stability to CFCC’s schedule.”
That “unlimited play” concerned Councilmember Charlie Rivenbark, who noted that turf fields usually have around a 10-year life span.
Jurgensen-Gabriel Field at Legion Stadium is the home to New Hanover High school’s football, soccer and lacrosse teams as well as the city’s professional soccer team, Wilmington Hammerheads FC. According to Amy Beatty, superintendent of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the turf field was installed in 2011 and was used 350 times last year between football and soccer games and other events.
“It’s in really good shape,” Beatty said of the turf, saying groundskeepers don’t groom it as often, which helps extend its life span. “It’s not showing any signs of nearing the end of its life cycle at all.”
There was also some concern about scheduling, as high school football and boys soccer play in the fall, as do both the men’s and women’s soccer team. Beatty said the high school fall sports dates are already set for next season with the exception of junior varsity football.
“CFCC would have to work around those dates,” Beatty said. “There’s been a spirit of cooperation in recent years among users, so we expect that to continue.”
Councilmember Neil Anderson said he doesn’t see a problem “as long as New Hanover gets priority.”
If the resolution is passed, CFCC would get up to 20 dates each year at the cost of $600 per game plus $35 per attendant. There will also be a surcharge of 50 cents per ticket, with the money from that going directly to a fund for improvements to Legion Stadium. Future improvements include a new scoreboard for Jurgensen-Gabriel Field, which was approved last month by city council.
The resolution is part of the city council’s consent agenda and is expected to pass.
“I think it’s great for them to be out there,” said Rivenbark.
There will also be five public hearings at Tuesday night’s meeting – four on the possible demolition of houses, and one on rezoning on Wrightsville Avenue. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers in City Hall. For a full agenda, click here.