EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — It's spring training for the East Stroudsburg University men's soccer team, but they don't have the entire field to themselves. They share with the track and football teams.
However, the hope is soon, these athletes will have their very own home—a stadium made just for them.
"This has been a long time coming for the success and the history of both the men's and women's soccer programs. We are the only team in the conference that does not have a designated soccer facility," said Rob Berkowitz, the men's and women's head soccer coach.
The East Stroudsburg University Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign to build a new NCAA-regulation turf soccer facility.
The stadium will be built on the site of the old baseball field, next to the football stadium. It will feature perimeter fencing, spectator seating, field lighting, a press box, a scoreboard, and a sound system.
The stadium is named in honor of ESU men's soccer coach Jerry Sheska, who won the most games and has the most titles at the school.
"It's really important that ESU builds a soccer-only specific stadium. In the history of ESU, the soccer program has been the most successful," said Gary Olson, an ESU Soccer alumnus, and co-chair on the fundraising committee.
Soccer players tell Newswatch 16 that having their own field, let alone stadium, is massive for their training.
"Practice times, game times, the culture around the team. Just having that specific soccer stadium is so ideal for any team, for any coach. Requires coming in to see it's just a soccer field, no football lines on it," said Setlios Melekos, a midfielder.
"When teams come here, and they play us, I think it's a whole different feeling when you have your own place that you can call home, and right now it doesn't feel that way, of course, so I think this the biggest part of this. We just want our own home," said Alexander Andersen, a left back.
The entire cost of the project is $4.5 million.
ESU has raised over half the money, but they still need help.
"Virtually anybody can contribute to this program because it's going to be not only for the university and the soccer program but also the community will be able to use the facility," said Rich Santoro, the executive director of the ESU Foundation.
To donate to the Sheska Soccer Stadium Project, click here.
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