By Victoria Nguyen
After five years of playing and practicing at five different stadiums around the Greater Toronto Area, the Ryerson Rams men’s and women’s soccer teams will call Monarch Park Stadium their home for the upcoming 2013 season.
The new stadium is not a permanent home for the soccer teams—at least not yet. Owned in tandem by both the Toronto District School Board and Razor Management Inc., use of the facilities are claimed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Ryerson practices and home games have already been booked until the end of the upcoming regular season.
“Our hope is to use it for our practices and games, our spring season, and off-season training as well,” said athletics director Ivan Joseph.
Last season, the Rams hosted regular season home games at Allan A. Lamport Stadium, Birchmount Stadium and St. Michael’s College, while hosting their playoff game at Esther Shiner Stadium.
The year before, in addition to those venues, the men’s team also counted the Ontario Soccer Centre among their homes during the regular season and Eugene Melnyk Sports Field their post-season home. In 2011, the men hosted their playoff game at BMO Field.
The last time both teams shared one field for a whole season was in 2008-2009 when they played all home games at Lamport Stadium.
In 2003, their inaugural season, Birchmount Stadium was their home field. De La Salle College was their home field in 2005 and 2007.
Fifth-year veteran Erica Huculak of the women’s team said it was a nuisance to have to play on multiple fields in her four years as a Ram.
“It was really annoying because we’d constantly have to double-check our schedules to make sure we were going to the right place at the right time. In a given day we’d have practice at Lamport and then play at Birchmount,” said Huculak.
Men’s soccer coach Filip Prostran said that traveling from stadium to stadium was a burden for the student-athletes, which cuts into academic studying and team training.
“With only one stadium, we can leave our stuff there,” he says. “There’s also that feeling that this is our house.’”
According to Google Maps, the trip from Ryerson campus to Monarch Park Stadium will take 31 minutes, which is roughly the same time as getting to Lamport Stadium. However, players can commute to their new facility by subway and avoid transfers between subways and delay-prone streetcars.
Prostran says the men’s soccer team is familiar with the newly re-developed stadium since he has already held off-season practices,
Huculak says the women’s team has done much of the same, as the team has practiced at Monarch Park and also held recruitment sessions there.
Although the stadium is not located on campus and won’t have any Rams logos, the women’s and men’s soccer teams will adapt to playing there just as they have done at other fields before.
“A field is a field,” Huculak said, “You should be able to play soccer anywhere.”