Soccer programs gifted new stadium following donation from Peter Gummeson ‘80

Conceptual+image+of+the+proposed+Gummeson+Grounds%2C+aimed+to+elevate+the+Lafayette+mens+and+womens+soccer+teams+in+the+future.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+GoLeopards%29

Conceptual image of the proposed Gummeson Grounds, aimed to elevate the Lafayette men’s and women’s soccer teams in the future. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

The men’s and women’s soccer programs will be elevated to new heights through the creation of Gummeson Grounds. As announced on March 9 on the GoLeopards Instagram page, a lead gift granted by Peter Gummeson ‘80 will be the foundation for the creation of the stadium.

Gummeson is a men’s soccer alum.

The soccer teams currently play at the Mike Bourger ’44 Field at Oaks Stadium, which will be revamped in the near future.

“The news of this project has brought great excitement to our soccer program,” Men’s Head Soccer Coach Dennis Bohn wrote in an email. “Peter’s generosity and commitment to Lafayette soccer is truly inspiring.”

The proposed project includes updated roof-covered seating, English-style terraces running behind the goals and along the sidelines and an irrigation system to promote pristine playing grounds.

“This facility shows our continued commitment to our soccer programs and how that commitment carries through to our alumni, who are such an important part of all that we are able to accomplish at Lafayette,” Athletic Director Sherryta Freeman wrote in an email.

Women’s Head Soccer Coach Mick Statham emphasized the importance of improving player experience.

“Whether that is with coaching, tactics, facilities, scheduling or anything else that is part of their experience,” Statham wrote in an email. “This is a big statement to them and future players about how important that experience is.”

This project will be promoting an already-successful soccer program. The men’s soccer team currently boasts the second-highest number of Patriot League Championships in the conference with seven wins and has achieved three East Coast Conference titles.

Statham and Bohn believe the facility will have a massive overall impact on the program.

“It will give us a unique place to play and provide both men’s and women’s soccer players with a top class environment to develop and perform,” Statham wrote. 

“The new renovations to our game venue will make Lafayette soccer games a truly amazing and unique experience for all players and fans,” Bohn wrote.

Freeman believes Gummeson’s lead gift is the “spark that will ignite Lafayette soccer.” She wrote that the impact of the stadium will be tremendous for aspects like recruiting, the student-athlete experience, and continuing the creation of a championship culture.

“Both our men’s and women’s soccer teams will benefit greatly from these enhancements,” Freeman wrote. “One of the joys of playing collegiate sports is being able to play in front of your family, friends and fans. I think the enhancements to this venue will increase the interest in our soccer programs and hopefully drive increased attendance.”

Gummeson Grounds: Home of Mike Bourger ’44 Field at Oaks Stadium is estimated to be a $3.6 million project overall.

“Anytime a project like this comes about it is the product of hard work by many groups on campus from the College’s development team, alumni relations, athletic administration and other key areas,” Freeman wrote. “The challenge is to match a donor’s desires and vision with that the needs of the College and our athletic program and we are excited that we are able to do that with this project.”

According to Freeman, the date of the project’s completion is still to be determined.

“I am so appreciative of Peter’s generosity and desire to elevate the men’s and women’s soccer teams at Lafayette,” Freeman wrote.

“Any donation given means somebody cares about us and that always humbles me,” Statham wrote. “We are grateful for every dollar given but a lead gift like Peter’s really helps both programs in significant ways.”