As students of St. John’s University, we should feel lucky to have such generous alumni as the Belsons, who are willing to donate money to our campus and reward our students for their outstanding achievements.
Belson Soccer Stadium is not only a great addition to the campus this year, but should be used as an important asset in the years to come. The stadium is an excellent example of St. John’s continuing attempt to improve its campus and make it more attractive, not only for resident students, but for commuting students as well. This effort can also be seen in the new ‘C’-store and Donavan Hall. This commitment to improving student life is a key tool to attracting new students.
Belson Stadium can also be used as a superb tool to help St. John’s reach out to the community. In light of this, students should look to support both our hard working soccer teams and visit the gorgeous new stadium. Once again, St. John’s has improved itself and shown their appreciation for its students success.
The stadium is being used for St. John’s men’s and women’s soccer programs. The men’s soccer team under Head Coach Dave Mauser is 159-41-23 over his ten years at St. John’s, won the National Championship in 1996 and went to the Final Four last season. This year’s team is currently ranked second in the nation. In addition, the women’s soccer team, under coach Ian Stone, has reached the ECAC Championship program the last two years and won the Big East Title in 1994. With the recent success of both soccer teams, the construction of a new stadium is a natural way to reward the athletes and their programs.
Belson Stadium is a good investment for St. John’s because the field was mostly funded by a six million dollar gift from Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Belson Esq. Mr. Belson is a St. John’s Law school graduate. Because of this gift, much more of the money made through the soccer games can be considered profit for the University.
The stadium will also aid in the upkeep of DaSilva field, which the soccer teams will no longer have to share with the football team. Belson Stadium finally gives our very successful soccer program their own and much-needed state-of-the-art facility to be used for both games and practices.
DaSilva Field will now only have to take the wear and tear of the St. John’s football team and local CHSFL teams such as St. Francis Prep and Christ the King, who use the field for their teams’ home games. In addition, the CHSFL also uses the field for some of its playoff games. With both soccer teams now using Belson Stadium, all the facilities of Dasilva field, from the turf to the stands, will be used considerably less, making its maintenance easier and insuring its overall quality. Belson should not only bee seen as an asset to the soccer program, but to the football program as well.
The six million dollars needed for the stadium was not used to build any old soccer filed, either, but one that could rival any in the Big East. The approximately 3,000-seat stadium prides itself on bringing fans close to the action. The stands sit only a few yards from the field of play, putting fans face to face with the action. They are so close that some kicked balls, could end up right in their laps. Features like this will not only attract fans and produce revenue, but also attract top athletes to play their collegiate soccer at St. John’s insuring further success for our soccer program. St. john’s students and athletes should feel fortunate to have such gifted visionaries planning their facilities.
Belson Stadium should also be an important tool for further connecting St. John’s with the community. Soccer is becoming a popular sport among our community, yet the only real place to watch professional soccer is at the Meadowlands, home of the MetroStars. Belson gives everyone a place to watch quality soccer games up close and for a fraction of the cost of a professional game. It is like having a minor league baseball stadium right in your back yard. Hopefully, people will see St. John’s in a more favorable than they do now.
While St. John’s is expanding as a residential school, the majority of its students still come from the local area. The stadium should be used as a told for St. John’s to develop the loyalty of kids at a young age so that they are even more interested in coming here when they are older.
While many people ask why the school had to spend six million to build a soccer stadium, I say, “Why not?” Like with other things in life, success should be rewarded. Our two soccer programs and their athletes have worked hard to achieve their successes. As a result of this effort, St. John’s, known for its prominent basketball program, is now also known for soccer and a state-of-the-art stadium.