Not just for Kicks

Soccer complex shines for whole community

A beautiful late summer afternoon greeted the Blue Knights as they arrived at the championship field where both the women and men’s soccer teams would be playing all their future home games. That Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009, Dakota County Technical College hosted the Kickoff Celebration for the grand opening of the new Ames Soccer Complex on the college’s Rosemount, Minn., campus.

Even though both DCTC teams lost to exceptionally tough Iowa Western Community College squads, the men falling 0–1, the woman 0–4, spirits remained high with the prospects for both programs looking uncommonly bright.

“Having a showcase soccer facility right on campus serves DCTC students and our soccer programs perfectly,” said Cam Stoltz, the college’s athletic coordinator and head coach of the men and women’s teams. “From a recruitment standpoint, the complex will definitely help solidify and enhance our already strong programs.”

Stoltz went on to say that from the standpoint of the community, the complex will benefit thousands of soccer players and their families who will be visiting the complex and the DCTC campus long before making any decisions about their college careers.

Built through a partnership between DCTC and the city of Rosemount with in-kind service from Ames Construction, the brand-new complex features three full-sized adult soccer fields—including one championship field—that can be subdivided into six youth soccer fields. Because youth soccer is very big in Dakota County, the complex itself is primed to become extremely popular with up-and-coming soccer players.

Dan Schultz, the director of Rosemount’s Parks and Recreation department, reported that he expects as many as 150 youth soccer players to be practicing and playing on the fields seven days a week during peak soccer season.

“The complex fills an important role in our community,” Schultz said. “Rosemount plans to operate the park in a very similar manner as other city parkland. The new soccer complex will be added to our scheduling system to provide space for in-house and traveling youth soccer programs and, of course, the needs of DCTC Blue Knights soccer. As scheduling allows, we might also see opportunities for adult leagues and tournaments as well as high school games.”

Schultz also noted that the complex will almost certainly host soccer clinics, soccer camps and various special events such as Rosemount’s Spring Easter Egg Hunt, which attracts more than 700 children along with their parents.

Amanda Olson, a sophomore fullback from Bloomington Kennedy High School, is excited about playing home games on campus. “We really appreciate the fan support we’re getting at the new complex,” she said. “The facility is awesome and has a much more collegiate atmosphere.”

A sophomore forward from Arrowhead High School in Milwaukee, Wis., Tom Vitense agreed. “The new soccer fields are energizing our teams,” said Vitense, who’s majoring in business. “Playing on campus is bringing home the idea that DCTC has great collegiate athletic programs.”

Student and faculty participation made a major contribution in constructing the complex. Over the summer months, Concrete and Masonry students, led by Instructor Paul Geisler, built a full-service concession stand with a press box.

Landscape Horticulture Instructor Jeff Kleinboehl applied his expertise to the professional landscaping around the concession stand, which utilized a range of plant material transplanted from the front of the college. The complex will also have a photovoltaic solar panel station that will help provide electrical power.

“The opening of the soccer complex marks a pivotal moment for the city ofRosemount and our college,” said Ronald E. Thomas, DCTC president. “Having a state-of-the-art athletic and recreational facility offers tremendous opportunities for interaction between our college and the community. Ames Construction did a wonderful job and was a crucial link in making the project a success.”

Looking ahead, Coach Stoltz believes that his Blue Knights are poised to bring their game to the next level. “We are exploring the idea of selling season tickets to engage people both at our college and in the community,” he said. “We couldn’t be more pleased that we are now competing on the most modern and complete soccer facility at any small college in the upper Midwest.”

Read more about the Blue Knights 2009–2010 soccer season at [intlink id=”156″ type=”post”]Five Blue Knights Soccer Players Make ICCAC Region XI 1st Team All-Region[/intlink].