By Jeffrey Swindoll
A sports team finally getting its own dedicated facility for training and housing has made a huge difference for other teams in the past. Soccer teams like Sporting Kansas City, the New York Red Bulls and the Houston Dynamo each went through many dark years in a shared or old stadium/training environment.
After rebranding with a new stadium or training facility, those teams saw an influx in fans as well as on-the-field performance that directly affected wins and losses. It could be a coincidence, or it could be that Baylor soccer is in for even more advances in the program’s quality with a new facility on the way: the Williams Family Soccer & Olympic Sports Center.
“We are very excited about the future of Baylor Soccer under the [head coach Marci] Jobsons’ leadership, and this state-of-the-art facility will afford the program first-class space and amenities,” Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said.
Baylor soccer is already a top-flight soccer program, with top-flight coaching. With the addition of a soccer-specific training facility, Baylor soccer could be in for some golden years under the Jobsons in terms of recruiting and all-around excitement if their fortunes follow the trend set by other teams that have gone through a similar process of improvement at the college and professional level.
“Quite honestly, soccer has been in a building that is probably our most un-sightly building in the Turner Complex. It’s really not a competitive facility for our teams and certainly for our soccer team,” McCaw said.
Todd Patulski is the Deputy Athletics Director. Among multiple focuses, Patulski works extensively with architecture, construction, and engineering firms whenever Baylor is in the process of building or renovating athletics facilities. Patulski works with coaches and the builders to make sure Baylor athletics get the most out of their facilities.
The construction of the new Williams facility serves as a statement to the soccer program and others looking at the facility that Baylor is committed to their soccer program, Patulski said.
That statement goes out to the coaches, current players, possible recruits and the Baylor Nation in general that Baylor is serious about the soccer team being on-par with the rest of Baylor’s state-of-the-art facilities.
“Every one of our programs needs to have those spaces to operate effectively, and then also for prospective athletes that are coming in and they’re evaluating how serious we take our soccer program, they’re going to look for those types of things,” Deputy Athletics Director Todd Patulski said.
A new stadium or a new training facility is sometimes the difference in recruiting athletes to play for a certain college. A Big 12 championship and appearances in three of the last 4 NCAA tournaments boost Baylor’s credibility as one of Texas’ best soccer programs.
“We have been blessed with some of the best student-athletes around, and now we will be able to provide them with a first-class soccer facility,” Baylor soccer co-head coach Marci Jobson said.
Baylor University has proven over the years that they can compete at the highest level of college sports in pretty much any sport the school participates in. Baylor soccer has earned a reputation in the Big 12 as a conference powerhouse, and is due to join football as a top-tier team for this fall sports season and the years to come.