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Drake soccer reacts to the completion of Mediacom Stadium

THE NEW MEDIACOM STADIUM is set to open on Thursday, Oct. 12 with a high school football game. PHOTO by Michael Admire

The new Mediacom Stadium is set to host its first football game this Thursday with Des Moines Roosevelt High School playing against Waukee. 

The stadium project has been a long time coming. The project started four years ago, but Tim Tesar, a senior associate athletics director at Drake University, said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project had to be paused for a while.

The land that the stadium was built on now belongs to Des Moines Public Schools. Drake donated the land to DMPS for the project. Tesar said that the stadium cost roughly $24.5 million, with DMPS paying $16 million and Drake paying the rest. The stadium will be shared by DMPS and Drake for sporting events.

There has been a need for the stadium by both Drake and DMPS for well over a decade. For the Drake men’s soccer team, home has been the James W. Cownie Soccer Complex since 2003. The introduction of a new, more solidified home field will undoubtedly reap benefits for both the men’s and women’s soccer programs at Drake. 

“It will be great to finally play where we practice,” said Pat Flinn, the Drake men’s soccer head coach. “Right now, we practice in the Drake Stadium, which is turf, and play at Cownie, which is grass, so it’ll work out better to practice at the field we will play games at.” 

Flinn believes the stadium will lead to more student support, which is difficult to get at Cownie, a complex roughly 15 minutes away from campus. 

Flinn imagines that the new stadium will also have a big impact on soccer recruitment. “For recruitment, we really avoid talking about the current facility we play at,” Flinn said. “We highlight the other nice facilities we have, but we don’t show off Cownie. It’ll be helpful for us to hopefully gain momentum as a team.” 

For DMPS, the Mediacom Stadium will have an equally big impact. 

“Des Moines Public Schools were seeing an increase of schools of similar sizes in the area receiving updates and new facilities, while the Des Moines schools were stuck with outdated facilities,” Tesar said. 

According to DMPS, all public schools will use the new stadium, except for East High School, which will continue using Grand View University’s Williams Stadium.

Sharing the stadium was initially a point of concern for Flinn, but he soon realized it wouldn’t be an issue. Many, many more teams will be using the stadium. It won’t just be soccer and football.

“It was specified that high school football would take priority, which made me worry about how it would work out,” Flinn said. “But I think that it’s gonna work just fine. Training also won’t be an issue because we practice in the morning, so overall, sharing the stadium will work out great.” 

Tesar shared some hopes for the student body at Drake University. 

“There will be lots of ways for students to get involved,” Tesar said. “We hope that there’s opportunities with students in the journalism school with the press box and possibly reporting on the games.”

The grand opening for the stadium will be this Thursday, Oct. 12 at 4:30 p.m., followed by the Roosevelt versus Waukee game at 7:00 p.m.

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