UNO's move into Caniglia Field as its permanent home for men's and women's soccer is getting closer, though it hasn't been completed as soon as planned.
The project, started earlier this year but then delayed by a rainy spring, is nearing its completion, said Mike Kemp, UNO's associate athletic director for events and facilities. It was originally scheduled to be completed before the start of the season in late August, and then a mid-September target date has since passed.
Now Kemp hopes UNO can play on it later this month, before the end of the season.
“It's been a combination of things,” Kemp said. “Because of the delays, each of the companies we work with has been delayed. For example, the turf company doesn't exactly just sit around and wait for us ... so when it wasn't ready they had other work they had to do, and we had to fall back in line with when they could come in here.”
Hellas, the turf company, has finished installing the rubber layer and begins turf installation Thursday.
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UNO has been playing on its previous field, the UNO Soccer Field, on the old Chili Greens property near 68th and Spring Streets. The Mav women host South Dakota at 4 p.m. Friday.
“After (Friday) we don't have another home game until Oct. 18, and I can't say for sure that it will be ready by then,” Kemp said. “But we're going to hold out hope for that. That would give both the men's and the women's teams three games each on the new field.”
UNO had been hopeful that it could send off its seniors with a full season at the new facility. The cutting-edge surface, nestled into the old football stadium in the middle of campus, is expected to be among the more attractive soccer facilities in the country.
“This limits the amount of time the seniors are able to play on it, and I know our coaches were recruiting to it and recruiting teams to play on it,” Kemp said. “But when the circumstances are outside your control, you can grouse about it or you can stay positive. I give unbelievable credit to our coaches, who have kept everybody positive and have handled it extremely well.
“You just have to bounce with the punches. On the positive side, we're going to have turf and it's not going to be years away, it's a matter of days.”