Soccer field

Bethany opens new football pitch with matches against Martin Luther | Local sports

For Bethany’s Lutheran football programs, securing a new pitch took a long time.

Men’s football coach Derick Lyngholm, who has been a women’s coach for the past 12 years, remembers when it almost happened in his second season with the school in 2007. But the recession hit and the plans were abandoned. Talks have continued over the past decade, but nothing could be completed.

On Wednesday, the wait for Lyngholm and everyone else involved officially ended, as the Vikings opened their new artificial turf pitch with a groundbreaking ceremony and a pair of UMAC games against Martin Luther.

Although the estate does not yet have a name, Lyngholm would like to name “Valhalla” which refers to the Viking afterlife.

The party scene has certainly captured a slice of footballing heaven.

“It plays like a football pitch,” Lyngholm said. “Most of the time you’re playing on a field that feels versatile. We don’t have any football lines there.

The men’s Vikings team won the first game played on the field 7-0 against their rival Martin Luther.

“It was awesome. We’ve been looking forward to it (the pitch) since last season, ”said Bethany defender Abel Solis. “We’ve had a great year, and on this pitch you can just feel the momentum and the energy.”

Max Busch led the Vikings with three goals. Vincent Ayodi, Marcel Campabadal, Edmund Jones and Chris Quintero also scored for Bethany.

The Vikings outscored the Knights 19-2. Moritz Bruns made two saves for the shutout.

From a football standpoint, adjusting turf to turf is something Bethany’s men’s and women’s teams will have to deal with. They’ve been training on the pitch since the middle of last week, so there has been a bit of preparation time. Prior to this week, they played home games at the Caswell North Soccer Complex in North Mankato.

“It plays like a grass pitch more than most turf pitches,” said Bethany women’s coach Emma Morris. “I don’t expect the transition to be too difficult for us.”

Lyngholm is excited about the transition as he wants his team to play a quick counterattack style. The men’s team still have seven regular season games to play and all will be played on turf.

The field also offers a boost in terms of access for the soccer teams, as well as the rest of the college. It will be used for intramural sports and can be used as a site for softball games at the start of the season.

“It’s going to be huge in terms of training in the spring in particular,” Morris said. “With the sod, you can just shovel it and go. You can’t do that with weed.

While the transition certainly helps both programs on the ground, the biggest impact may be off the field.

With both coaches in their first seasons with their teams, recruiting over the next two or three years will be crucial.

“I think it shows that our program is getting bigger and better every day,” said women’s team forward Maddie Perry. “Our last field was not as attractive.

The field itself covers 95,880 square feet and cost $ 1.6 million. The works included the earthworks, the base and the sod. The project also included a stormwater retention basin and a new parking lot. The total project budget was $ 3 million.

Future plans could include a domed turf pitch next to the soccer field.

“It’s huge for a Division III facility to have something like this where everyone can get involved,” Morris said. “Whether it’s inside the city or watching a game, everyone can enjoy it in one way or another.

The women lost 2-1 to Martin Luther in Wednesday’s second game.

Kenya Henderson scored Bethany’s only goal. Perry had an assist.

Leah Sonnenburg made five saves for the Vikings. Martin Luther dominated Bethany 7-5.

Both Vikings teams will play again on their new ground on Saturday. The men (9-3) will host Wisconsin-Superior at 1 p.m. and the women (6-6) will host Superior at 3:30 p.m.