June 1, 2005
Dirt is being pushed around on the University of Iowa’s “West Campus.” That activity alone has Carla Baker, head coach of the UI soccer program, “kicking and screaming” in anticipation.
“When all pieces of the West Campus project are completed in the summer of 2006, this could arguably be the best soccer facility in the Big Ten. It will be excellent from the standpoint of having our practice, playing, and locker room facilities all in the same locale,” said Baker, a veteran of 11 years of coaching at the Division I level including the last three as head coach of the Hawkeyes.
“When all pieces of the West Campus project are completed in the summer of 2006, this could arguably be the best soccer facility in the Big Ten.”
UI Soccer Coach Carla Baker
The soccer team’s new practice field will be located immediately east of the UI Soccer Complex and adjacent to Grant Field – the soon-to-be new home of Iowa’s nationally ranked field hockey program – at the corner of Melrose Avenue and Mormon Trek Boulevard. The Hawkeyes currently practice on the Hawkeye Recreation Fields, a collection of soccer fields located about a half mile north of Iowa’s varsity field and its soon-to-be full-time practice field.
Baker added that it will help to have the same practicing and playing locale when showing recruits on visit days. “It is a concrete example of the University of Iowa’s commitment to its women’s soccer program. Logistically, it’s a huge advantage to have all of our facilities closely situated versus scattered about,” she said.
Baker also said that the quality of the practice surface will be far superior to the one that her team currently practices on. More importantly, the quality of her team’s practices and training will improve because there will be more room and surface area in the new facility.
Baker believes the new practice field will have a significant influence on the six-year-old soccer program at the UI.
“We want to be a consistent contender in the Big Ten Conference. To get there we need to continue to attract a higher quality student-athlete. The new practice facility will help us accomplish that,” said Baker.
Baker and her Hawkeyes will have to be patient, however. The new practice facility will be seeded instead of sodded. Therefore, the facility won’t go online until practice opens for the start of the 2006 season.
“Just seeing the dirt move and the other activity in the area will have a positive impact on our recruiting efforts. It’s also exciting for our current student-athletes. They know they are the foundation of something that could be very special in the future,” said Baker.
A new team locker room is included in the floor plan of the West Campus Tennis and Recreation Center. That building is also under construction with completion expected in the spring of 2006. The soccer locker room is currently inside the UI’s award-winning Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The UI’s “West Campus Project” includes the construction of an indoor and outdoor tennis and fitness facility, the new Grant Field, and the soccer practice facility. It is located 500 yards northwest of the Roy G. Karro Building / UI Athletics Hall of Fame which is immediately west of award-winning Finkbine Golf Course at the corner of Melrose Avenue and Mormon Trek Boulevard.
Click HERE for more information about the West Campus Project including the new facilities being constructed for use by Iowa’s varsity soccer program.