BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Futbol, better known as soccer in the United States, is the world’s most popular sport. Its popularity continues to grow and boom, including at Daytona State College (DSC).
On Tuesday, DSC celebrated its soccer program with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new state-of-the art DSC Soccer Stadium Complex.
“This is a place where young athletes can dream, where parents can take pride in their kids passion for the sport and where the community can come together in friendly competition,” said Dr. Tom LoBasso, president of DSC.
The event was well-attended by trustee members, administration, faculty, staff, the soccer teams, athletics, students and the community.
The Falcons touted both their athletic and academic success.
“This is an amazing vision. This is an amazing and wonderful facility. Our athletes continue to be the top students academically on campus, in Florida and nationwide, said Board of Trustees Chair Forough Hosseini.
“Bringing soccer was the right move and the smart move at the right time. DSC creates skilled workers to support our cities and counties. We have great programs with athletic and academic talent for great students, including those who cannot afford it and those who are economically challenged. Education is open to all who can benefit from learning,’’ Hosseini added.
Tour, music, food
The ceremony was followed up by a tour of the stadium, music, and free food.
“This new facility symbolizes the institutional growth and commitment to our students, staff and ingenuity. I am proud to be a part of such an important effort that will serve our students and community for many years to come,” stated Athletics Director Will Dunne.
The new stadium took about a year to build with a price tag near $3 million.
Stadium features include: lights for night play; Bermuda grass playing surface; bleachers with the capacity for nearly 1,000 spectators; a high tech and high definition 30×25 foot jumbotron scoreboard with video, photo, as well as live replay capability and capability for live TV broadcasting and live online streaming of games.
The new facility will be open for community participation.
LoBasso stated, “We will host our local soccer clubs, school groups and other community partners for events and clinics. At each home game this season, we recognize area clubs and others.”
In addition, the school will use the stadium as a learning tool for students pursuing an associate of arts degree in its TV production program.
Home games are being broadcasts live on WECU-Channel 15, the school’s public access TV and live streamed on the internet.
“Live TV broadcasting and production is one of the regions’ top growing fields and an economic driver,’’ LoBasso noted.
Site of championship
Next year, the stadium will be the site of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I soccer championships. The event, in November 2018, will bring 12 national teams to compete over five days.
“We are proud to be a host of the NJCAA host national tournament next year. It will bring participants with their families and fans to town, LoBasso stated, noting the economic impact of the teams staying in local hotels.
Dunne echoed, “The NJCAA was very impressed with the vision and commitment of this new facility. Somehow we got the bid before we broke ground. We plan on bidding for more opportunities in the future to host a variety of soccer championship events.”
‘New day for us’
DSC has been playing in the stadium since last month. Nobody is more excited than the soccer programs.
“This is a great day with great importance to both our Falcons soccer teams. This is an awesome soccer stadium. It’s a new day for us. We are truly grateful,” added Bart Sasnett, the head men’s soccer coach.
During halftime, the Falcons honored the Seabreeze high school boys’ soccer team for winning the 2016 Class 3A state championship.
A game between the boys’ program and Eastern Florida State College followed the ribbon cutting and tour of the facility.
Soccer teams’ stats
The Falcons (11-2, 3-1) fell to the Titans 5-1, suffering their first home defeat of the season.
DSC is 5-1 at home and ranked sixth in the NJCAA Coaches Association Division I national poll.
The women’s team is 9-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play including 3-0 at home. They are ranked seventh in the NCJAA Coaches Association national poll.
This is the second year that Daytona State has soccer as a sanctioned sport. Last season, the teams played their home games at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Next year, DSC plans to add cross-country to its sports programs.