June 3, 2010

Nighttime Soccer - Back at Cal State Northridge

June 3, 2010

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Northridge, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Athletic Department is excited to announce the installation of permanent lighting at Matador Soccer Field and the return of nighttime soccer to the San Fernando Valley.

Construction has been underway for the past couple weeks at the Matador Soccer Field in anticipation of the 2010 Cal State Northridge men's and women's home soccer seasons.

The project is now complete and all the light poles at both the soccer field and the adjoining field are in place.

"The installation of lights at Matador Field will allow our teams to compete with the nation's very best in collegiate soccer," CSUN Athletics Director Rick Mazzuto said. "It's an enhancement which will elevate our program in terms of recruiting and our ability to share outstanding soccer in the San Fernando Valley community."

In 2010, the Matador men's soccer team will host three teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2009. The CSUN women's team will host two teams that qualified for the NCAA's last year.

The first game to introduce the lights to Matador fans and the community will take place on Sunday, Aug. 22 when the Matador women's team hosts the University of Portland at 7 p.m. The Pilots have won two NCAA championships and have qualified for the NCAA Tournament 17 of the past 18 seasons.

The Matadors and Pilots will meet for "Sunday Night Lights" as the CSUN Athletic Department has a number of marketing and promotional activities planned for the match.

"Playing under the lights, in front of the home crowd and family, is going to create a great atmosphere and is a large reason why these student-athletes compete in intercollegiate athletics," CSUN women's soccer head coach Keith West said. "I believe these lights will put us on a new level, giving us the opportunity to showcase to the fans, school and community what we're all about."

In fact, seven of the women's nine home matches in 2010 will start at 5 p.m. (pacific time) or later. Those games are as follows: Sept. 3 vs. Pepperdine (5 p.m.), Sept. 17 vs. Pennsylvania (7 p.m.), Sept. 27 vs San Diego (7 p.m.), Oct. 1 vs. UC Davis (7 p.m.), Oct. 17 vs. UC Riverside (7 p.m.) and Oct. 28 vs. Cal State Fullerton (7 p.m.).

"I remember the atmosphere the lights created and the rush of celebrating with the fans and community when we scored or won games at the old North Campus Stadium," West added. "I believe these lights will change the athletic department as a whole, not just the soccer program. It's going to bring the community back to campus and allow them to enjoy what we have to offer as a Division I athletic department."

The Matador men's soccer team will play a majority of its 2010 home schedule under the lights. The first regular season contest is schedule for Sept. 3 with a match against San Diego. CSUN will also host Air Force on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the non-conference season.

One of the bigger dates of the 2010 season will come on Wednesday, Oct. 27 when CSUN hosts nationally-ranked UCLA at 7 p.m. The last time the Bruins came to the San Fernando Valley, the Matadors posted a 3-0 victory on Sept. 29, 2007, the program's first win in the all-time series between the schools.

In Big West play, the Matadors will host UC Davis (Oct. 9), Cal State Fullerton (Oct. 13), UC Irvine (Oct. 20), UC Riverside (Oct. 30) and Cal Poly (Nov. 6). All those games are tentatively scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

For Terry Davila, CSUN men's head coach, the timing could not be more perfect.

"Now we will have a chance to take the next step and incorporate the communities around Northridge on a deeper level and provide parents and their children with an opportunity to witness first-class soccer in a family-friendly environment," Davila said.

"Everyone in the program is excited about this project," explained Davila. "Now our program has the ability to evolve to the next level, further cultivate relationships with local talent, and truly become a team that the entire Valley can embrace and call their own."

In 2009, both the CSUN men's and women's soccer teams qualified for the Big West Tournament. The women's squad hosted the first home playoff game in school history, while the men re-entered the four-team field for the first time in three seasons. For their work, Davila and West both received Big West Coach of the Year honors in 2010.

In the professional ranks, the men's program has displayed a history for producing professional soccer players. In 2008, Sean Franklin was taken fourth overall by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Super Draft and was named the league's Rookie of the Year. In 2010, Chad Borak was the first Big West player selected, going to the Colorado Rapids with the 40th overall pick.