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Cowgirl Soccer Preparing to Open Neal Patterson Stadium



STILLWATER — Colin Carmichael’s dream will soon be a reality.

Carmichael, Oklahoma State’s soccer coach, has been with the program since its inception in 1996. He said there have been talks about new soccer facilities for about 15 years. At 7 p.m. Sunday, the Cowgirls will open the $20 million Neal Patterson Stadium in a game against Oklahoma.

“It takes money,” Carmichael said. “It takes commitment, and it takes somebody who is passionate about our program. We’re very thankful to have Mike Holder as our athletic director, who clearly is supporting every sport here and wants us to have the best of the best. We’re clearly to have passionate donors like Mr. Patterson and his family that are so generous to give what’s needed to make this happen.

“Anybody can dream about it. Anybody can wish for it, which we all do, but for it to become a reality, I still have to pinch myself sometimes.”

The Cowgirls travel to Tulsa on Thursday night to open their season before the team’s home opener against OU.

The stadium won’t quite be completed at the OU game Sunday. The new video board on the southeast corner won’t be running for the opening few games, and the press box won’t have power yet, but the excitement for the opening is still there. The team practiced in the stadium for the first time on Monday, where junior midfielder Jaci Jones said she filmed her first step on the field.

Despite not having a game played in it yet, the Stadium has already benefited the program. Carmichael said more than 350 season tickets have already been sold compared to the near 80 last season. He also said that with classes starting Monday and students being back in Stillwater, he expects the stadium to be full Sunday night.

The benefits of the new facilities won’t stop with the butts in seats, though.

“Clearly, it’s going to affect recruiting in a positive,” Carmichael said. “I think when we get kids on campus, they’re going to come out and look at this and think, ‘Wow, this is awesome.’ Our current players are benefiting from all the amenities that this stadium is gonna have. Our fans are going to benefit. What a game day atmosphere and experience to come watch games here. Those are the main beneficiaries, and as a staff, we get to work here every day. It’s not working, it’s just living a great life.”

Another big hitting point for Carmichael and his team is that the stadium is all theirs. The team’s current locker room is in the Demaree Apartments, a residential building northeast of the stadium.

Carmichael complimented athletic director Mike Holder about five times during Carmichael’s meeting with the media Wednesday, but perhaps his most stringent point about Holder was his willingness to help all of OSU athletics, not only the men.

“I think it sends a huge statement from our administration that every athlete at Oklahoma State is important,” Carmichael said. “I know Coach Holder says that, I think every AD says that, but they don’t always back it up. Well, Coach Holder is backing it up.

“The fact that there’s no track around it. We’re not sharing it with the tack team. There’s no men’s team. It’s just for women’s athletes only. To make that kind of investment, is pretty humbling, and it’s pretty exciting for our team.”

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