Construction has begun on the lights at TLU's Gustafson Field.
(Seguin) – The phrase "Friday night lights" will mean something a little different this year at Texas Lutheran University.
For the first time ever, the TLU Men's Soccer and Women's Soccer programs will play home games at night thanks to the installation of lights at Gustafson Field.
The new project, coming a year after the construction of TLU's Bulldog Stadium for football and track and field and Ed Kruse Stadium for TLU Softball, is made possible by a generous contribution from TLU soccer alum Mat Gorman.
Gorman played for the Bulldogs during the 2002 and 2003 seasons and competed alongside current TLU Head Men's Soccer Coach Eddie Salazar during the 2002 campaign. Gorman was the Bulldogs' starting goalkeeper. Salazar was a central defender.
The 2002 season saw the Bulldogs finish 14-4-2, win the American Southwest Conference and qualify for the first NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship in school history.
The Gustafson Field project also includes the construction of a black chain-link fence around the perimeter of the facility.
Gorman was first approached about the project by fellow TLU soccer alum, and current member of the TLU Men's Soccer coaching staff, Jimmy Flores.
"Jimmy tells me Eddie (Salazar) was trying to raise money for a fence around the field," Gorman says. "He was trying to raise $5,000. I told Jimmy I could help out, and the fish ended up going from six inches to six feet."
"It was an opportunity to give back to TLU. I also viewed it as an opportunity for the organization I work for to partner up with an organization that has similar ethical, moral and religious values."
Gorman owns and operates Nova Recovery Center, an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center outside of Austin.
The brand new lights will be installed and fully functional by Aug. 6, allowing the Bulldogs to play night games at home during the 2015 men's and women's soccer seasons.
"I am excited at the opportunity to enhance the experience for our men's and women's soccer programs, student body and the university as a whole," Salazar said. "We have been trying to think of ways to strengthen our support and school spirit, and this entire stadium project, starting with the lights this fall, is a great step forward."
The project is estimated to cost $300,000. Many of the Bulldogs' Friday home games now will be played in the evening.
"Getting lights for the soccer program is great for the university, our soccer players and the community," said Larry Schaffer, TLU's head coach for women's soccer. "With the later game times on Fridays, it means that the players will be able to stay in their classes longer and not miss as much class time, be able to play in cooler weather, and allow more of the spectators to get to the games."
"The addition of lights will also help the recruitment process of future players and students for TLU and the soccer programs. The addition of lights is a win-win for everyone."