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By Sean Maraj
For every up there is a down, for every good there is a bad. And for every stadium being built at Western, there's a lack of playing space for outdoor teams.
With the beginning of construction on the new facility scheduled to replace J.W. Little Memorial Stadium next year, the soil has been turned at the huron flats. However, while excitement has been building over the construction of the stadium, a problem has arisen with the loss of the Huron Flats, there is now a major struggle for space among teams which need a place to practice and play.
"There are definite problems," said Rock Basacco, head coach of the Western men's soccer team. "The trouble with the field is that it's shared with both men and women teams and interathletics."
The fall teams include football, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's rugby and field hockey. The only places available for these teams to practice are J.W. Little Stadium, the remaining Huron Flats fields and the field at Althouse College.
Keith Concisom, head coach of Western's field hockey team said smaller teams, like his own, are quickly feeling the affects of not having a suitable playing area on which to practice. He added his team's play has already begun to suffer and on many occasions they've ended up practicing on the track in Thompson Arena.
"We don't have the option of playing on an entire field," Concisom said. "It's affected us more in the second half [of the season] when we need to work on position plays and we don't have an entire field."
Western's chair of Intercollegiate Athletics, Darwin Semotiuk, explained that the space issue is one affecting all outdoor teams on campus and the athletics department is trying to accommodate as many of them as possible.
"With the construction at Huron Flats, no fields are open for anyone. Because of the new stadium, everyone is having problems finding fields," Semotiuk said. "We're trying to do the best we can and involve outdoor and indoor places like Althouse and Thompson arena."
Many of the teams are trying to find ways around this problem on their own. The solutions have varied from team to team, but most teams have been moving practices off-campus. Basacco said the soccer team often play on the soccer fields at Windermere Road and Adelaide Street, but the change in location creates problems in itself.
"We've had to go off campus, but we run into problems with transportation and players making it to practice," Basacco said.
Concisom said although he looked at the option of moving his team, in the end, it was not viable, leaving them in a difficult situation.
"There really isn't a venue in London that would satisfy our needs. We decided it would be best to stay here at Western for convenience and safety reasons," Concisom said.
Semotiuk added he was sympathetic of the teams' plight, but added there was not much more the athletics department could do until the new stadium was built.
"It's a really difficult situation, we have limited outdoor space for our athletics and we understand the problem," he said.
Amme Harding, a veteran forward for the women's soccer team was also quick to point out the problems facing the team.
"We have to go to the field at Huron and Adelaide [Streets], the field isn't kept and [there are] players who don't have cars, so players are always showing up late," she said. "You'd think they would find place for the two soccer teams considering the success we've had."