It’s been over a decade since York’s soccer field has been used. Under construction, brown and inaccessible, it has forced the college soccer teams to play their home games in a different borough at the Aviator field in Brooklyn.
The soccer teams that go to Brooklyn feel that they are not in a home game, and it’s all but obliterated the presence of supporters from York.
“It took us $20,000 to rent the place for the team to play” said Athletic Director and Head Coach Ronald St. John.
The cost has far exceeded what’s been expected to keep the soccer team playing at “home” games, when in fact York’s real home-field feels similar to an away game.
“The problems with the field goes back almost 12 years,” said St. John, “The field has major problems. The lighting system is bad and the field is messed up. The soccer teams and coaches feel really horrible about the situation.”
But the administration has said continually that the soccer field would be fixed, despite a hefty amount of money continually being spent on renting out the Aviation field.
“The field is not level so it wouldn’t make sense for the soccer team to play on it,” said James Minto, executive director of facilities planning and operations. “Fixing up the field will be done. It’s just a matter of when.”
Currently, the field is hazardous and seemingly under construction. Though, it has been left like that for years because the department didn’t have any plans on what to do with it, citing constricting budgets and complications in modifying the field, according to administration and department officials.
“It’s just disappointing that we’re in the predicament we’re in with our field” said St. John. “It’s just not fair to the student athletes and to college itself.”
St. John met with York College President Marcia V. Keizs, who, he said, did not have a clear idea about what was going on with the field.
York has only started to take control with fixing the field, hoping for the field to be completed within the next year and a half. CUNY has also set a meeting with Thomas and Keizs regarding the field, officials say.
Though funding for the school’s athletics is unclear — a portion of fees paid by all students go to CUNY Athletics, and a second fee that students pay through student activity fees also go directly to the college’s athletics. This year, York athletics received $264,198, according to the Student Activities Fees Budget.
St. John has more ideas about what to do with the field after it is fixed.
“Once we get it fixed, we would host the CUNY Championship because CUNY is always looking for a nice place to host,” said St. John.“Hosting the CUNY Championship would be great for our York students and the community.”
No question that the athletic department of York College and CUNY members is now planning to get the field fixed quickly. Hopefully by this time next year there is a field to be used for teams, students and for other positive activities.