Nomadic Archbishop Murphy boys soccer team waits for installation of new turf

Practicing and playing games away from campus is nothing new for athletes at Archbishop Murphy High School. Members of the Wildcat track and field, tennis, swimming and golf teams have long used off-site venues to train and compete.

But as the school awaits the completion of an installation project for a new artificial turf surface at Terry Ennis Stadium, the Archbishop Murphy boys soccer team has joined the school’s list of sporting nomads.

Even as work crews are hurrying to complete the new field for the final few weeks of the spring soccer season, the Wildcats have been practicing and playing at nearby Tambark Park, a City of Mill Creek facility. Though the park lacks fan seating, the field itself “is probably one of the nicest I’ve seen,” Wildcats coach Mike Bartley said. “It’s a really nice complex. … If we have to be somewhere (other than the school), we couldn’t have picked a better place.”

As for the inconvenience, “everybody’s been positive about it because there’s a goal in sight, and that goal is having our own field,” Bartley said. The number of complaints, he added, has been “basically zero. Most of my team plays select or some type of soccer outside (of high school), so they’re used to traveling around and playing at different facilities.”

Since the school opened, Archbishop Murphy’s stadium has had a grass field. And like other grass fields at schools in and around Snohomish County, heavy use and inclement weather often turned that field into a muddy mess.

According to athletic director Erick Streelman, there had long been talk of getting an artificial turf field at the school. But the project was still likely a few years away until two events occurred to drastically reduce the time frame.

For one, Streelman said, Archbishop Murphy football coach Jerry Jensen got word of an artificial turf field that was available for free. The reason was that it had been returned to the Hellas Construction Company of Austin, Texas, “because it was the wrong (shade of green),” Streelman said.

The second bit of good news was a gift by an anonymous donor of around $600,000 that would cover the actual installation costs.

The entire proposal came together quickly last fall. “It was a whirlwind,” Streelman said. “But because it was such a good deal, it was too hard to pass up.”

By doing it now, he added, “we’re saving over $500,000,” which would be the purchase price for the field itself. “And the donor was so generous and stepped up with the right money (for the installation).”

With a new artificial turf stadium, “the ability to use it year-round is going to be a massive benefit to our kids,” Streelman said. Another plus, he went on, “is safety, because when that (grass) field is muddy and sloppy, the possibility of injury is increased. Kids are going to slip and turn ankles, turn knees and things like that.”

Ultimately, he said, the new field “is going to beautify our campus. It’s going to be an attractive piece of our facility.”

The field could be completed by the middle of this month, which means the boys soccer team might end up playing its final four regular-season games at the stadium. “We’ve got our fingers crossed on that one,” Bartley said.

In the meantime, the team will continue with carpools to get players to and from Tambark Park for practices and games.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes,” Bartley said. “But we can’t wait to get on our field.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Kispert’s NBA draft decision on hold for now

The Edmonds native and Gonzaga junior is playing the waiting game with the pre-draft process unsettled.

Community sports roundup: MP alum earns big academic honor

Olivia Lee’s work at EvCC is recognized; the Snohomish Soccer Dome closes its doors for good.

POLL RESULTS: “The Last Dance” was a big hit

Readers watched the 10-part documentary on the Chicago Bulls of the 90s, and they liked what they saw.

Silvertips notebook: Fonstad likely to return to Everett

The winger is not signing a pro contract with Montreal, meaning a return to the WHL is likely.

MG’s Knight named Gatorade state baseball player of year

Despite not having a season, the star junior was recognized as the top overall player in Washington.

Stay or go? Local senior college athletes face tough decision

Whether to accept the NCAA’s offer of an extra year due to the missed spring season isn’t black and white.

Oregon State’s Mikayla Pivec speaks to reporters during the Pac-12 Conference women’s NCAA college basketball media day last Oct. 7 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
Pivec won’t play in the WNBA during the 2020 season

The Atlanta Dream announce the Lynnwood High School product will sit out for personal reasons.

Major issues confront Minor League Baseball and the AquaSox

“When the time is right for baseball to return, we will be here,” pledges general manager Danny Tetzlaff.

“The Last Dance,” a 10-part documentary produced by NBA legend Michael Jordan, is a 10-part series chronicling the Chicago Bulls’ run to the 1997-98 NBA championship, the franchise’s sixth title in eight seasons. (AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser)
POLL: Have you seen “The Last Dance,” and what’s your take?

The 10-part ESPN documentary on Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls has been a phenomenon of the pandemic.

Healthy George Karl starts podcast, may someday coach again

The ex-Sonics coach, who has survived cancer three times, talks about the time he offended Michael Jordan’s sensibilities.

Felix Hernandez aims for 200 career wins and 3,000 strikeouts

But the COVID-19 pandemic is getting in the way of the former Mariner’s pitcher’s goals.

Seahawks agree to deal with veteran running back

Carlos Hyde, who began his career in San Francisco, rushed for 1,070 yards for the Texans last season.