PSU says construction to begin soon on soccer pitch

May 14—PITTSBURG, Kan. — Construction will begin soon on Pittsburg State University's first soccer pitch, with the goal of having it ready for the first regular-season women's soccer games this fall.

PSU announced plans last August to add women's soccer for the 2024-25 season, citing it as one of the fastest-growing women's sports.

The PSU women's soccer team will open the season by hosting Missouri University of Science & Technology on Sept. 5. There will be a game against Missouri Southern State University on Nov. 6.

In a statement, PSU said the all-turf pitch will be built by Mammoth Sports Construction between Weede Gymnasium and University Lake, oriented east and west along the portion of the hike-bike path known as Gorilla Walk. The Weede will serve teams via existing locker rooms and sports medicine areas.

Parking will be available in the Weede parking lot and the parking lot across Homer Street at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, with space also available in the nearby Brown lot adjacent to the stadium.

"This is another milestone moment in Pitt State Athletics," Athletic Director Jim Johnson said in a statement. "We are incredibly excited about it and about the opportunity this will provide to the women who have signed to be our first soccer student-athletes."

Women's soccer is the first women's sport PSU has added since 1986. Johnson said last summer that adding women's soccer will bring 25 to 30 student-athletes to Pitt State who would not otherwise enroll there.

The team will be coached by Wes Branstetter.

The addition of women's soccer brings the total women's offerings at PSU to seven: basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, volleyball, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field. PSU offers six men's sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field.

"For many areas of our country, for many populations, and in many other countries, soccer is the primary sport," President Dan Shipp said in a statement last August. "We have to ask ourselves, 'Are we relevant? Are we focused on the needs of today's population?' We want to be more inclusive. The absence of soccer sends a signal to the market, and having its presence here also sends a signal."

Johnson said last August that PSU was the only MIAA school that didn't offer women's soccer.

The season takes place in the fall semester and will feature an 18-game regular season schedule, with nine home games:

—Sept. 5, Missouri S&T, 3 p.m.

—Sept. 8, Northwestern Oklahoma State, 1 p.m.

—Sept. 12, East Central, 3 p.m.

—Sept. 27, Nebraska-Kearney, 3 p.m.

—Sept. 29, Fort Hays State, 1 p.m.

—Oct. 18, Newman, 2 p.m.

—Nov. 1, Central Oklahoma, 2 p.m.

—Nov. 3, Central Missouri, 2 p.m.

—Nov. 6, Missouri Southern, 2 p.m