BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — For the St. Francis College men’s soccer team, there’s no place like home.
Especially now that home is finally just a stone's throw away at Brooklyn Bridge Park, with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.
“To the left of the field is the Statue of Liberty, right in front of you is the whole skyline and to the right is the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge ad Empire State Building,” coach Tom Giovatto said. “The view has to be the best in the country. It’s absolutely amazing.”
The Division I Terriers will play their first game at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Saint Peter’s College.
“It’s going to be great, under the lights, there’s going to be a lot of people there and we’re definitely going to put on a show for our home crowd,” said the team's captain Andy Cormack, a junior midfielder from Plymouth, England.
Tuesday’s home opener at the park is several years in the making. St. Francis College athletic director Irma Garcia immediately reached out to Brooklyn Bridge Park president Regina Myer when construction began on the 85-acre greenspace along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline in 2008.
“We’ve been trying to get this going for three or four years and I cannot believe it’s finally coming true Tuesday,” Garcia said. “You get chills every time you walk down there. To have a home this close, it’s priceless.”
For the past seven years, St. Francis College played its home soccer games at Aviator Sports Complex at Floyd Bennett Field. Prior to that, the Terriers competed at Belson Stadium on the campus of St. John’s University in Queens and the Metropolitan Oval in Maspeth, Queens.
“Forever we were looking for a home,” Giovatto said. “It’s always been tough because we never actually practiced at any of those places. It was just playing games there. It was kind of an away game every single time out.”
Now, their home is just a corner kick away from the school on Remsen Street. The team practices on the synthetic turf surface and can easily head down for individual workouts.
“It’s a pretty amazing view to have it right there on the water,” Cormack said. “Honestly it's one of the most beautiful fields in the country, if not around the world.”
The buzz around St. Francis College started last year, when the team practiced at Brooklyn Bridge Park in the spring.
“I was being approached by students, teachers, everyone at the school was excited,” Giovatto said. “They couldn’t wait to see a game there.”
There will be bleacher seating for about 100 and an area behind one of the goals to pull up a blanket and watch the match.
Tickets Tuesday night will be free of charge and the first 100 fans will receive St. Francis T-shirts and ice cream vouchers to Fornino’s, located on Pier 6.
St. Francis College, which is 1-2 to open the season, will play five additional Division I home games at Brooklyn Bridge Park, including Sept. 26 against St. Joseph University.