Friday, November 11, 2011

USC's football stadium nears completion

(This is my story for Sun.Star Cebu on Nov. 11)
A VISIONARY athletic director’s dream is slowly becoming a reality and the University of San Carlos is just seven months away from becoming the only school in the Philippines with a world-class football stadium.

The USC football stadium, which is part of the developmental project of the school, will be the center piece of a planned Athlete’s Village that was a dream of former athletic director Fr. Vic Uy before leaving the school to join the Philippine Sports Commission.

 “This is really his baby,” said Ricky Dakay, who sits in the school board. “We are done with the earthworks and  we hope to open in June.”
Dakay said it was a slow and strenuous six-year work as the stadium was carved out of two hills.

 “We even built a dam beside the field. It’s a 5,000-cubic meter dam so we won’t have any problems watering the field,” said Dakay.

Though Dakay is not willing to quote a figure, saying only the school has spent a “substantial amount” for the stadium.

The quality of the football pitch, too, is expected to be one of the best in the country since the school has hired Archt. Ike Madamba, the man behind the P7.5 million-renovation of the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

“They (USC varsity members) will be in a much better position,” said Dakay.

The athletes’ village won’t only cater to football as it will also include a basketball court, tennis courts, diving and swimming pools, tennis courts and a dormitory.

However, it will be the football stadium that will be finished first and though Dakay said they have no plans of holding an opening salvo, they are also open to the idea of having a friendly game featuring big football clubs in the UFL when they open in June next year.

“Dan (Palami, Azkals team manager) also told me that once the stadium is finished, he is considering holding a training camp there. I think it would be a good move because the players will be staying in a retreat house run by nuns,” said Dakay.

Meanwhile, Madamba also dropped by the Cebu City Sports Center, which is in the middle of rehabilitating its football field.

“Ike will also show the CCSC how to do it properly and he has talked with Ricky (Ballesteros, CCSC manager),” Dakay said. “So from zero pitches, next year, Cebu City will have two international quality football fields.”

Madamba said having a second quality pitch will be an advantage to the school as it won’t get so much abuse.

“It will help the school because unlike in Manila, it’s only Rizal,”  Madamba said.

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