NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Thursday was a historic day for the Yale field hockey program, as the Bulldogs got the first look at their spectacular new home: Carol Roberts Field House. The team, which is about to start preseason practice, moved in to the new facility in the afternoon.
The building is the first of its kind at Yale -- a comprehensive space that meets the needs of two women's teams. Situated between Johnson Field (home to the Yale field hockey team) and 5K Corral Field at DeWitt Family Stadium (home to the Yale softball team), the 5,900-square-foot facility includes spacious locker rooms, a training room, a satellite coaches' office, a team meeting space and a second-story observation roof deck featuring a glass-walled event space.
"It's an absolute game-changer," said Pam Stuper, Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey. "So few programs in the country have an opportunity like this -- to have a home, a field house, a place right next to their field."
With Stuper leading the way, the Bulldogs toured the facility -- starting with the observation roof deck on the second floor, where they got a sense of how enjoyable it will be for parents and fans to watch games.
Back at ground level, the Bulldogs entered the new building for the first time. After checking out the training room and the coaches' office, they headed into their new locker room for the culmination of the tour. With "All I Want for Christmas" playing in the background, they not only got to see their new lockers but also got to see their new Under Armour gear.
After posing for photos and videos, the Bulldogs reflected on the impact Carol Roberts Field House will have.
"It's incredible," said senior back Jackie Kisa, Yale's captain. "It's like all the people and alums that poured their heart and soul into this building are here with us throughout the season. We could not have asked for anything more than what we've got here … It's a vision of what YFH could be, both on and off the field."
Carol Roberts '81 provided the lead gift for the field house. Roberts played field hockey and softball for the Bulldogs, winning a pair of Ivy League championships. Following graduation she joined International Paper, where she served as a senior vice president. She is active as a member of the Yale Field Hockey Association board, and in 2009, she received the Yale Athletics George H.W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Award.
The significance of the name on the field house is not lost on the current Bulldogs.
"As a senior, having a field house to come into that is really and truly our own and next to our field is just amazing," said senior back Marissa Medici. "Secondly, the fact that this field house was funded by women, dedicated to women and is the first athletic building for women on this campus is truly special."
Fans get their first look at the facility in 18 days, when Yale opens the season on Sept. 3 vs. Michigan State at Johnson Field.
"It's the start of something absolutely incredible," said senior forward Brooke Reese. "I can't even put into words how grateful our team is -- how people were crying and screaming, just so excited by this entire building. We have to thank our alums and Carol for this opportunity. It's completely changed our team and it's completely changed our lives as student-athletes."
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity