Sports

Ambler makes for lower attendance

Women’s soccer has lowest attendance in the A-10.

In Spring 2004, Temple opened the Ambler Sports Complex at Ambler Campus for four teams that were unable to play on Main Campus due to limited space in North Philadelphia.

The baseball, softball, as well as both the men’s and women’s soccer teams call the Philadelphia suburb of Ambler home. In the team’s ninth season at Ambler, the women’s soccer team has experienced low attendance, but has seen a steady increase since last season.

“I have seen the attendance rise a lot this year,” coach Matt Gwilliam said. “We have really engaged the local community this season. With soccer camps, soccer clinics, and parents, we have had good support from our fans this year.”

Prior to the opening of the Ambler Sports Complex in 2004, the women’s soccer team used the Temple Stadium in the West Oak Lane neighborhood of Philadelphia. Temple Stadium, opened in 1928, held a capacity of more than 34,000 people. It was also used by Temple’s football team and men’s soccer team, Philadelphia Bulldogs, Philadelphia Spartans, and was even home to the Philadelphia Eagles for two games.

Since 2008, the women’s soccer team has attracted an average crowd of slightly better than 156 per match. In 2011, the average attendance per match was 100, and after seven home games in 2012, the average attendance per match has risen to 154.

Of the four Temple sports teams that play at Ambler, the women’s soccer team has averaged the highest attendance this season. This year, the men’s soccer team averaged 131 people per match through five home matches, while in Spring 2012, the baseball team averaged 148 per game and the softball team averaged 91 people per game.

In order to get to each game and practice, the women’s soccer team takes a Temple shuttle bus to Ambler Campus – just as baseball, softball and the men’s soccer team does. Gwilliam said the 40-minute drive gives the team the opportunity to prepare and focus on the day’s task.

“It is actually nice sometimes,” freshman defender Paula Jurewicz said about the commute to Ambler. “It is a nice, relaxing ride. It gives the team a chance to listen to some music and get in the zone.”

For the teams that play at Main Campus, the attendance numbers are higher than those of the teams that travel to play at Ambler. This year, the field hockey team has averaged 289 people per game while playing at Geasey Field. The volleyball team has also drawn more attendees while playing at Main Campus, as the team has drawn an average of 248 people per match this season through eight games.

In Spring 2012, the women’s lacrosse team averaged 337 per game at Geasey Field, while the women’s basketball team averaged 2,170 people per game in 2011–12. The largest average attendance of any varsity sports team that plays at Main Campus is the men’s basketball team, with an average attendance of 7,851 per game in 2011–12.

In the Atlantic 10 Conference, the women’s soccer team has the lowest total attendance, with 1,078 people, and lowest average attendance per match of the 15 teams in the conference.

Through eight games, Dayton has the highest total attendance in the conference with 7,598 people and the highest average with more than 949 people per match. The average attendance at an A-10 women’s soccer match is 338 people, 184 more than Temple’s average.

The low home attendance has not had any strong effect on sports this season, Jurewicz said. Her only wish is that more people would show up to cheer the team on while playing at home.

In Fall 2013, Temple will begin play in the Big East conference in all sports. Notre Dame currently leads Big East women’s soccer in home attendance with 11,582 as well as leading the Big East in average home attendance with 1,287 through nine matches in 2012. Upon entering the Big East, Temple would rank last in average attendance if the figures remain the same entering the 2013 season.

“I think the move to the Big East will bring more people to our matches,” Gwilliam said. “[Temple] is moving to one of the best conferences in the NCAA. Playing teams such as Notre Dame and Georgetown should not only attract more Temple fans, but also more college soccer fans.”

John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu or on Twitter @johnmurrow12.

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