If you want a taste of Georgetown’s growing success on the field, take a look at the Georgetown women’s soccer team, which finished No. 2 in the country last season. Head coach Brian Wiese has led the women’s soccer team to three consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament with a school-record 23 wins in 2015 and a final ranking of No. 4.
There’s only one problem, women’s soccer has yet to participate in an intercollegiate football game.
To date, women’s soccer has faced more challenges than some of its male counterparts in Georgetown’s athletics department have in recruiting players and gaining equal access to facilities.
Women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse coach Brian Wiese, chairman of the student-athlete services committee in charge of hiring faculty, said he has never been offered access to Kostka Field on campus for his team to train. In addition, he said, the Olympic Sports Complex, where women’s lacrosse and basketball teams are based, is about a 10-minute walk from the women’s lacrosse practice facility. The same is true of the women’s soccer facility at Pansy Park.
“We have a commitment to not have field access for women’s soccer,” Wiese said. “We would like to have that.”
Wiese has always thought of baseball as a field-specific sport, but in recent years, he has discussed the potential for women’s soccer and men’s basketball to use the Kostka Field facility on campus.
Since the mid-1980s, the University of Wisconsin has allowed student-athletes to use the Kostka Field field during intercollegiate football games. But it’s impractical for men’s basketball, as it’s not the same size and depth, and the women’s soccer team is unable to attend games.
Wiese is starting to push for an agreement for his teams to use the field, even if it’s on a limited basis. He’s more interested in bringing Georgetown into the mix so that he can work with representatives from the men’s and women’s basketball programs in order to improve opportunities for Georgetown student-athletes on campus.
“One of the biggest gripes I get from coaches is travel expenses,” Wiese said. “When you have a yearlong program and are going to play as many games as we have in the ACC, that type of travel, for players, is expensive.”
Along with raising more money and identifying potential facilities to include in the Athletics Facilities Master Plan, Wiese’s team is planning a cultural change in order to bring about more parity between the men’s and women’s athletics programs.
Wiese said that if women’s soccer takes part in the same intercollegiate sports competitions as the men’s teams, then it can be viewed as a school commitment.
But the university won’t go there, says vice president for intercollegiate athletics Mike DeGioia.
“We think we’ve reached parity when there are eight women in a team and a total of 28 men in a team,” DeGioia said. “We take great pride in our student-athletes’ access to athletic competition, whether it be winter and spring sports or summer sports. That makes for an excellent experience for all our student-athletes.”
Feeling like Georgetown could do more to meet the needs of the student-athletes, Men’s lacrosse coach Dave Urick said that he would consider a home-and-home series if women’s soccer was included in future competition.
“Having the same environment, whether it’s winter or summer or even the regular season, for all the sports helps me,” Urick said. “For all students, it helps academically.”
But Men’s basketball coach John Thompson III said that having women’s lacrosse train at Pansy Park, just two doors away from the basketball practice facility, is an advantage for his players.
“As a basketball coach, it’s helpful having your practice facility one-and-a-half blocks away from our club lacrosse facility,” Thompson said. “It doesn’t hurt me because I can go to both facilities.”