Editorial: Field of Nightmares

Vulcan Soccer deserves better playing conditions

News Writer Lexi Smiley
Photographer Elizabeth Lough

Picture of UH Hilo soccer field

“The practice field is not fit to be played on.” - Leighana Weaver, Women’s Soccer

UH Hilo’s student-athletes generally enjoy the opportunity of playing on a Vulcan team. Some of these athletes, however, are not satisfied with the terrain they must encounter on a regular basis.

From the time this campus started as the Hilo Program, UH Hilo will celebrate 70 years of providing an education to Big Island residents. If you were to look at the soccer fields though, you might think it was even older than that. I should know - I play for the team myself.

The practice field is basically a mud pit with grass. When it rains, the field will completely flood and it is unable to even be played on. And when the field is stepped on the ground sinks, causing potholes everywhere.

Not only is the field unappealing to the eye, but more importantly, it is a safety hazard. Just recently, star forward Leighana Weaver tore her ACL in a friendly scrimmage on the practice field that took place at the beginning of the fall semester.

When asked about her thoughts on the field, Weaver did not hold back in expressing her dismay with what happened to her. According to Weaver,

“The practice field is not fit to be played on. Technically, it’s not even a complete field but patches of grass and dirt that turns into gooey mud that sucks our feet into the ground. That ‘field’ isn’t in shape to be played on at all, by anybody. Trust me, I would know because that field is the reason I tore my ACL.”

Another thing that makes the field so terrible is that there are barely any chalk lines. The out-of-bounds chalk lines are basically invisible. Since they’re so hard to see, when you play on the field you have no idea if you are even in the playing area.

Additionally, the field is almost never maintained. The grass is taller than it should be; it is very hard to dribble the ball because it gets stuck in the grass due to its long length. The game field is not much better than the practice field. Although the lines on the game field are visible and the grass is much shorter than on the practice field, it is still terrible. The thing that makes it the most inconvenient is that it runs into the baseball field. And about a quarter of the field is hard dirt. When the players try and dribble the ball on the dirt part, the ball bounces all over and is very hard to control.

Twenty players on both the men’s and women’s teams were asked anonymously if they thought that UH Hilo had the worst game field in the whole conference. All 20 said yes.

One way the practice field can be improved is by having the grass cut on a regular basis.

Another option is to install some sort of draining system in the field, so that the water drains instead of sitting still and causing a mud pit.

Recently, both soccer teams have stopped using the on-campus game field and now play on the local high school field. Due to the changing of fields, there have been less fans at the games because they are now off-campus and a lot of college students don’t have cars. If the game field were to be fixed, then the teams would be able to play there and more UHH students would be able to attend the games.

Simple things can be done to change the condition of the fields. Some of these things may cost money, but when it comes to safety, money shouldn’t be a concern. The practice field is dangerous to players and needs to be fixed soon before there is another serious injury - like what happened to Leighana Weaver.

The opinions in this article are solely those of the author.

If you are a student-athlete and wish to speak with Ke Kalahea regarding your playing condition, contact: uhhkk@hawaii.edu