DALLAS — The Ursuline Academy soccer program has won 23 state championships in a row, but they've never won a playoff game — or a regular season game — on their own campus.
Ursuline wanted to build a lighted field, but needed permission from the city. The school tried this once before, in 2001, but lost the vote.
Currently, the only practice field on campus is about a quarter of the size of a regulation soccer field, where head coach Allie Daus once ran into a tree when she was a player here.
"That little tree right over there," said Daus, pointing to a small tree near the edge of the practice field. "Just in the middle of a game, and you look up and — oops — there's a tree right there."
With a lighted field on campus, the Ursuline soccer team would have an answer to a recurring question.
"The question 'Where?' is always at the forefront," said Daus, who just completed her first year as the varsity head coach. "We're going to have a game against Nolan Catholic. Well, where? Same with practice, saying 'We're going to have practice at 6:30.' Well, where?"
The opposition to the lighted field came from neighbors, some of whom live to the north, across six lanes of Walnut Hill Lane, and behind a barrier and a lot of trees.
To the east is Inwood Road, and we could see only one house that might be affected behind all those trees back there.
In addition to being against what they called "trespass light," opponents argued that lights from an athletic field would cause additional glare, making driving even more dangerous at the busy intersection of Walnut Hill and Inwood.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the Dallas City Council voted 14-0 in favor of Ursuline, which can now go forward with plans to build a lighted soccer field.
"It's been a long, long wait," said Gretchen Kane, president of Ursuline Academy. "But I think through patience we're taught, through faith and the ability to compromise, we've gotten the decision."
It's been a long time coming, but these perennial champions will finally have a place to call home.