Soccer field set to open in fall 2016

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After nearly a decade of setbacks, Delta College will have a fully functioning soccer field in the fall, but must deal with one last problem.

The installation of artificial turf has been put on hold due to a Killdeer bird that has nested on the soccer pitch. “It’s like a two-three week period from the time they lay the eggs to when the eggs hatch so that’s going to move the process back … so that’s a little frustrating,” Delta women’s Head Coach Adrienne Sorenson said. “It’s a bird that is protected so we can’t move the bird or anything, it’s endangered.”

The Killdeer bird is safeguarded by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which states that it is “illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Delta men’s and women’s soccer are no strangers to field complications as the previous playing surface, built in 2007, had the wrong grass installed and was riddled with divots due to practices held by the track and field team.

“We had a couple kids have injuries that were career ending. It was unfortunate … we have to have a better facility for our student-athletes,” Sorenson said. “They deserve better so it was really cool to see it come together. We’re very grateful to the administration and to everyone that was involved in this process, [Dean of Athletics] Steven Graham and [Athletic Director] Daryl Arroyo.”

During the construction process, which has taken nearly two years since being announced in Sept. 2014, Delta played its home games at Gardemeyer Field at the University of Pacific campus.

“I didn’t mind it too much. I just wish that we could’ve had a locker room,” freshman defender Ashlyn Sotelo said. “We’d go to every other single teams’ field and we could go to the locker room … we had to sit under a tree over there [at Pacific] rather than being able to do that.”

Anticipation is high among athletes preparing for their last season as a Mustang, including sophomore forward Daesha Brown who will be playing in her first official game back since tearing her anterior cruciate ligament in 2014.

“I’m definitely excited because it’s my sophomore season. I played freshman year here, but I got hurt half way through so last year I medical redshirted,” Brown said. “I’m excited to start my last season here on the new field.”

The field currently has bleachers and scoreboards in place with a media area, shade structure and turf on the way.

“We’re really excited to have not only a facility, but to have a really nice facility. We’ll have one of the best stadiums around, period, for men’s and women’s soccer,” Sorenson said. “We’re really excited and really grateful that it’s finally happened and that it was seen as a need for our campus and our students … it has been slow and a little bit painstaking, but it’s really cool.”

With a new field comes high expectations as the Lady Mustangs will attempt to qualify for a postseason birth and push the programs streak to six straight California Community College Athletic Association appearances.

The Mustangs will also look to best it’s 2015 season where the team set program records for, wins, shutouts, goals against, Conference record and a program record 10 consecutive wins.