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Folsom Lake College eyes women's soccer as first on-campus sport

By: Don Chaddock, Managing Editor
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FOLSOM, CA - By fall 2013, soccer fans could find themselves sitting in a new soccer complex watching the Folsom Lake College Falcons women’s soccer team do their thing on the field, if the college district approves the request.

Currently, the college offers men’s and women’s golf and tennis teams, but has no on-campus sporting activities. With the first phase of completion in sight for the synthetic surface soccer stadium, now the college is moving forward with a request to form an intercollegiate women’s soccer team.

“It’s a beautiful field,” said Stuart Van Horn, the Dean of Instruction for Kinesiology, Health and Athletics. “It’s (basically) done and signed off on. We’re nearing completion of our intercollegiate softball, baseball and basketball. Our master plan rollout has all sports with the exception of football and aquatic sports.”

He acknowledges the popularity of football but said in a four-college district, the chances of getting approval from the Los Rio Community College District board to start up a third football team was slim.

“Sacramento City College and American River College already have football programs,” he said. “Football isn’t on our radar.”

The college has just received approval for a gymnasium.

“It will be just behind our existing Physical Education Building,” he said. “It’s two gymnasiums in the building and between them will be the infrastructure – locker rooms, lobby and concessions. We’re building both gymnasiums in the same project.”

Van Horn is pleased with the design of the building.

“In an abstract way, the gym will roughly resemble a bird in flight, so it’s a neat design touch,” he said. “We’ll be breaking ground sometime next year. They will round out our Kinesiology programs.”

The gymnasium is expected to take two years to complete.

As for the women’s soccer program, Van Horn said it’s a request he’s confident the board will approve.

“We’re now in the process of approaching our governing board for introducing women’s soccer in the fall (2013),” he said. “Of course, this is all pending board approval. I’m excited because if they approve it, this will be our first on-campus sport.”

There will be an informational meeting about the proposal from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Folsom Lake College, Room PE-203, 10 College Parkway, Folsom.

For more information on the meeting, in which the public is invited to provide input, call Jeanne Northrop at (916) 608-6687.

The next phase is a nine-court tennis complex and a cross-country course.

“Usually for cross country, it’s three miles for women and four miles for men,” he said. “We’re proposing a two-mile loop. It would meander its way through the wetlands and the rest of the campus.”

The college sits on roughly 156 acres and anywhere from 20-26 acres, depending on the season, is protected wetlands, Van Horn said.

“Because of that we had to go through some processes with the state Department of Fish and Game and the federal government,” he said. “A little more than one percent of the proposed loop infringed on those wetlands.”

The trail won’t be just for runners, according to Van Horn. It will also be used for other classes such as biology field study and a “heritage interpretation trail,” he said.

The trail should be ready by summer or fall 2014.

“That’s the part that had a slight infringement and required us to break apart from the first phase,” Van Horn said. “It (gymnasium, fields and trail) all fits in our small thumbprint and meets intercollegiate standards.”

He said there will be uses beyond the college.

“It will effectively increase the city’s inventory for what they offer through current Parks and Rec facilities,” he said.

It’s all part of the college’s philosophy of building community relationships.

“For our tennis programs, we struck agreements with outside groups such as the city of Folsom, Rolling Wood Racquet Club, Broadstone Tennis Racquet Club and for golf, Empire Ranch and Rancho Murieta golf clubs,” he said. “They’ve been wonderful partners.”

He said the college is there to work with the community and provide services to local students.

“They’re students first and athletes second,” he said. “Under my watch, you’re not going to find some student from Louisiana recruited to play here.”

Learn more about the college at http://www.flc.losrios.edu.