By Denise Dick
Beginning next summer, the Youngstown State University women’s soccer team will have its own field.
Farmers National Bank Field, paid for with a $500,000 donation from the bank, is part of the $4.3 million sports complex under construction along Fifth Avenue, across from Stambaugh Stadium. The naming of the field is subject to approval by YSU trustees and is expected at the board’s March meeting.
Farmers’ gift was announced at a news conference Friday morning in the DeBartolo Club inside the stadium.
Besides the soccer field, equipped with synthetic turf, the completed complex will include an eight-lane all-weather track, softball field, lighting for the fields, stands, restrooms, walkways, fencing and a concession stand.
Besides the softball and soccer teams, the facility also will be used by intramural sports, and the university expects use by high-school and community groups.
“This is the first gift in the $4 million-plus project,” said Cynthia E. Anderson, YSU president.
It’s the latest in a long series of contributions Farmers has made to the university, she said.
“Farmers National Bank seems to always be there whenever there’s a new initiative going on at YSU,” Anderson said.
The new sports complex, expected to be complete in the summer, will be an asset to the university as well as the community, the president said.
John Gulas, Farmers president and CEO, said the donation is an example of the bank’s mission to support the community.
“Without a vibrant community, we wouldn’t have customers, employees or our shareholders,” he said.
He also commended YSU for its focus on women’s athletics.
Members of the university’s women’s soccer team look forward to having their own field rather than having to share the one used by the football team.
Allison Ludwig of Centerville, Ohio, said the field will serve as a recruiting tool, and Karlee Kline of Clinton Township, Mich., said the sports facilities were a factor in her choosing YSU.
The WATTS Center appealed to Kline as did news of a planned soccer field.
“It will just be nice to have a field that we can call our own, that we can use at our leisure,” Ludwig said.