Dedication Ceremony Kicks Off New Soccer Complex

Meaghan McCann

The Villanova community recently celebrated the dedication of the Higgins Soccer Complex on West Campus. The $3 million complex was completed in August of 2014 and includes two state-of-the-art soccer fields for the varsity soccer program and intramural sports and events. The complex is a part of the “For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change” capital campaign to boost University endowment and facilities. The dedication ceremony was held Oct. 4, and included remarks from men and women’s soccer coaches, Thomas J. Carlin and Fran L. Kulas, Athletic Director Vincent P. Nicastro, and Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A.  Attendees also heard from Patrick T. Higgins ’79 and Julianne Bigelli-Higgins ’80, alumni whose leadership and $1 million donation made the project possible.  

The practice field was named in memory of William F. Zimmerman, ’15. The Villanovan spoke with George Kolb, associate vice president for Alumni Relations about the dedication of the complex. 

“The Higgins felt it was so important to name [the practice field] after Zimmerman”, who was passionate about playing soccer throughout his life. A few hundred people gathered to dedicate the complex, many of them Pi Sigma Kappa brothers there to support and thank the Higgins for their donation in loving memory of their fraternity brother, Billy. 

Men’s soccer head coach Thomas J. Carlin put a smile on the face of students, distinguished guests and alumni when he told light-hearted stories about his relationship with Billy. 

“[The early stages of the campaign included] private meetings with prospective donors, dinners, and other small events,” Kolb said. He reported that “once the leadership gift was in place [by the Higgins], things took off.”

The new field has already benefited VU soccer immensely. Namely, the state-of-the-art facilities have bolstered recruiting efforts and will “lead to the program becoming stronger and stronger.”

The game field was made possible through a generous gift from Joseph P. Campolo, ‘90 VSB. Both Campolo Field and Zimmerman Field contain FIFA-approved artificial turf playing surfaces. The new complex also includes a new scoreboard donated by Peter M. Harding, ‘91 VSB. Although Higgins Complex boasts many exciting amenities, Kolb states that “the greatest focus has been on the multi-use nature of the field. Students who want to play intramurals or club sports can use it. Use of this field will go far beyond the men’s and women’s soccer programs.” The dedication ceremony was far more than a reception. It inspired students and attendees to give back to the University and do their part to serve their communities. 

“[The dedication was] one of those powerful days and moments you see when everything comes together,” Kolb said. “A fundraising effort and passionate alumni and donors coming together to accomplish something. This is something that has been a highlight of my time at the University and I know it’s been a highlight to others. It was Villanova at its best, coming together to honor people and fill a huge need of our athletic programs.”