Thirty. One. Championships. It’s an absolutely staggering number, and it’s the number of national championship teams that Fetzer Field has seen since the first Tar Heel men’s soccer team played on it in 1947. Women’s soccer alone has won twenty-two, men’s lacrosse has won five, and men’s soccer and women’s lacrosse have each won two. These incredibly successful programs have a rich history on Fetzer, especially the former two.
The field itself is a wonderful ground to play; I’ve never seen a clump of grass fly into the air like I have at other college and even professional-level stadiums. It is of the quality one associates with perennial top-10 teams. The rest of the facility, though, hasn’t always maintained this quality; it doesn’t have bathrooms and the concessions stand is tiny and flimsy. It’s astounding that the ground hasn’t undergone significant renovation almost since its inception, especially given the success of the associated programs, or maybe because of that success. Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham did say when asked about the renovations,
“I think that their success has actually continued to push them to the back of the line. We’ve invested heavily in baseball, football, basketball with Carmichael, and Fetzer hasn’t gotten the attention that I think it deserves.
Fetzer Field hasn’t seen many losses in its lifetime; the women’s soccer team doesn’t often lose more than two home games in a season. While they had a rougher year this year than most, they still ended up one of the top four teams in the country. The other teams are starting to catch up, too, and home audiences are picking up in response.
It’s fitting, then, that each team sent it off with success: Men’s and women’s championships in lacrosse, a Final Four finish after a rocky start in women’s soccer, and a men’s soccer season that hasn’t quite finished yet due to... well... this:
SEE YA IN HOUSTON! Drew Murphy's first goal as a Tar Heel is a golden one & sends us to the #CollegeCup pic.twitter.com/mHEKZORk1K— UNC Men's Soccer (@UNCmenssoccer) December 3, 2016
Let’s hope the men bring home a trophy to give their former home the farewell it deserves.