The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Gummeson Grounds unveiled

Members of Lafayette leadership, coaches and donors unveiled the new Gummeson Grounds at Metzgar Field Complex. (Photo by Ryan Hulvat for GoLeopards)

The men’s soccer program held its grand opening and dedication ceremony for Gummeson Grounds, home of the new soccer field and stadium, last Friday. The new complex, which features English-style fan seating and a press box, will host all men’s and women’s soccer home games.

Construction of the $4 million project began at Metzgar Fields in early April, thanks to the lead gift from Peter Gummeson ‘80, and finished in time for the women’s soccer match on Aug. 20. More than 60 alumni, families and classes made significant contributions to the project. 

According to Andrew Foster, the senior associate athletic director for facilities and operations, the project has been in development for close to four years. The decision to model the stadium off an English football stadium came from both Gummeson, who played soccer as a Lafayette student and loves English-style stadiums, and women’s soccer head coach Mick Statham, who played professionally in England.

The stadium includes a new natural grass field, stadium chairs, a new press box and a tunnel from which players can enter the pitch.

“It is one of the only colleges in America that has a real tunnel, like a professional facility would for the players to walk out,” junior midfielder Alexa Jindal said. “We have a walkout song, so that’s a good way to open the game.”

The women’s soccer team defeated Mount St. Mary’s 1-0 in their inaugural match. In addition, Lafayette Athletics held a Community Day clinic for local youth groups prior to the match. 

“We played that game before people got to campus, so it wasn’t quite as exciting as the men’s game, which was the official opening game,” Jindal said. 

Foster said that the college wants Gummeson Grounds to be open to the entire Easton community.

“We’ve been already in talks with Easton and Phillipsburg for the high school rivalry, just like they play football here,” Foster said. “They actually inquired about playing their soccer rivalry on our field as well … We built that into our planning to where we want the community to come out and celebrate with us.”

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held before the men’s home opener last Friday. Prior to the match, college President Nicole Hurd, Director of Athletics Sherryta Freeman, Jim Benjamin ‘84, men’s soccer coach Dennis Bohn, Gummeson and Statham officially opened and dedicated the new facility. There was also a facilities tour for donors and a reception before the match commenced. 

The men’s team escaped its inaugural match with a 1-1 draw against UMass Lowell in front of a packed crowd that included many freshman orientation groups. Spectators waved their rally towels and a live DJ performed before the opening whistle. 

“Many of my teammates and I attended [the men’s game], and it was electric,” Jindal said. “All of the donors were there, plus a bunch of coaches and a bunch of other teams, so it was really awesome to see the camaraderie that the new stadium brought.”

“The atmosphere was very loud and there was a sense of togetherness,” first-year Benjamin White, who attended the game with his orientation group, said. “I think it was unique to see that as my first Lafayette experience of school pride.” 

The new stadium includes two grass hills situated behind each goal. Built for the students to sit on, both Jindal and White noted how they allow students to get involved and “chirp” the opposing goalkeeper. 

Gummeson Grounds is one of the first steps in the college’s strategic plan for Metzgar Fields.

“My hope is that this facility is a catalyst for what’s to come with the strategic plan,” Foster said. “I think this facility can showcase what … we can do when we all come together and share a common goal.”

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About the Contributor
Grace Sanborn
Grace Sanborn, Assistant Sports Editor
Thinks hitting a ball with a stick outside for four hours is fun.

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