Hope College today dedicated its new $5.3 million Van Andel Soccer Stadium, a world-class facility serving the Hope soccer program and Holland-area sports and recreation community.
"This is an exceptional facility for the Hope and Holland communities," Hope College president Dr. James E. Bultman said. "When we envisioned a stadium in this natural setting, we knew it would be special. In reality it has far exceeded our expectations. We are so very grateful to David and Carol Van Andel for their vision and generosity in making this project come to such marvelous fruition.
The daylong community celebration included youth exhibition games, HopeCollege men's and women's soccer matches, and a dedication ceremony, community picnic and fireworks display.
The series of family friendly events also featured special appearances by three Women's Professional Soccer League players, including West Michigan native and two-time Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Tarpley. The Chicago Red Stars standout was joined by Brittany Bock and Manya Makoski, members of the Los Angeles Sol. The pros led an interaction session for the youth soccer players, participated in the dedication ceremony and signed autographs at the community picnic.
The dedication ceremony featured the project's lead donors, David and Carol Van Andel, as well as a video appearance by Dutch footballer Rudd van Nistelrooij.
"Today's dedication of one of the finest collegiate soccer stadiums in the nation marks an exciting new era for Hope College soccer," said David Van Andel. "As HopeCollege alumni, proud parents of two Flying Dutchmen and longtime members of the Holland community, Carol and I are thrilled with this magnificent new facility. It's gratifying for us to support projects that enhance programs, engage the community and postively impact the local economy."
Designed to complement Hope's recently expanded athletic complex, the stadium was built on the site of the college's existing soccer fields. The state-of-the-art facility includes stadium-style and bleacher seating for 1,400 fans, a concession stand, public restrooms, two locker rooms, a training room, a meeting room for visiting teams along with a ticket booth and press box. It features terrace areas for picnics and tailgating as well as lighting for night games and artificial turf. The project also included establishment of a maintenance endowment.
As one of the nation's largest single-purpose stadiums in its division, the facility has the potential to attract major sporting events to the area, resulting in a significant economic impact. According to Hope College officials, a stadium of this caliber could draw MIAA tournment play, NCAA and MHSAA post-season play, age group soccer play, soccer camp tournaments and lacrosse contests.
Later this month, it will host high school playoff soccer games, including the Division 4 Regional Semi-Finals and Finals and the Division 3 State Semi-Final.