Director of Athletics Debby De Angelis (Photo: Barry Zepel)
First and foremost, I'd like to welcome everyone back to campus and say Happy New Year! As you may have already noticed from the construction that's started on campus, 2010 is going to bring many changes and improvements for both the Athletics Department and the university as a whole. The latest project is an upgrade to the field and track at Pioneer Stadium. Renovations will include installation of an all-weather track and an upgraded synthetic playing surface that will allow the Pioneer soccer teams to begin playing under the lights for the fall 2010 season.
The upgrades are a key part of another exciting development for our community, as the Athletics Department and Cal State East Bay welcome Women's Professional Soccer's (WPS) Bay Area team, FC Gold Pride, to the Hayward campus. WPS named Pioneer Stadium as its new home for the 2010 season and will begin play at Cal State East Bay in May. The move will bring elite-level women's professional soccer to Hayward and allow for partnering opportunities between FC Gold Pride and Pioneer men's and women's soccer for camps and clinics, a win-win for all involved. Everyone involved is looking forward to completion of the stadium upgrades and the arrival of FC Gold Pride at Cal State East Bay.
The university community also is gearing up for one of the Athletics Department's biggest events of the year: Homecoming 2010. Scheduled for the final week of February, Homecoming festivities are set to kick off Monday, Feb. 22.
Events during Homecoming Week include the East Bay Idol competition, a scholarship lunch, a fashion show and pep rally, along with several athletics events, culminating with the Homecoming games versus Sonoma State at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26. So, start gathering your red and black clothing and warm up those vocal cords, because Homecoming is fast approaching!
Even with all the new developments in athletics, we can't forget that men's and women's basketball and women's swimming are currently in the midst of their seasons. Though the basketball teams are still looking for their first conference wins, they continue to improve with each game and have been involved in some exciting games. The Pioneer men have lost by five points or fewer three times in the last four games, making for some thrilling finishes in the last two weeks.
Both teams are in the middle of a four-game homestand that concludes with San Francisco State and Cal State Monterey Bay this weekend. The first edition of the Battle of the Bay against the Gators is set for Thursday with the women tipping off at 5:30 p.m. and the men to follow at 7:30 p.m. I expect to see you there to help cheer on the Pioneers against our new cross-bay rivals.
The Pioneers have been just as busy in the pool as on the court, finishing fourth at the Cal Lutheran Invitational Jan. 2. Since beginning the season in October, the East Bay swimmers have put together quality performances both individually and as a team, including several first-place finishes in a dual meet with Fresno Pacific and one win and four second-place showings at the Bay Area Invitational.
January also signals the start of a very busy time for Pioneer athletics as our spring sports begin to get underway. Be on the lookout for baseball starting Jan. 23 and women's water polo opening with an exhibition Jan. 17.
With the spring season just around the corner, basketball in full swing and Homecoming approaching, there's something on the horizon for everyone on campus to enjoy. We'll see you out there. Be loud, be proud, be positive and go Pioneers!