The first home football game took place in the new stadium on Thursday, September 12. The stands were divided into three sections and students wearing Trojan Army shirts had an entire section to themselves to cheer on the football team. Principal John Pehrson (Admin.) said, “The stadium is gorgeous. I think it really helps solidify a comprehensive school culture. The energy around it today was just amazing.” The section next to the students sporting Trojan Army was saved for the UHS Band. Next to the band, a section was reserved for parents who came to support the opening of the new stadium.
Stadium construction commenced in the fall of 2012 and officially opened on September 4, 2013. The stadium cost an estimated 9.7 million dollars, and it fits 2,940 people. Although the stadium is located on the UHS campus, it belongs to the Irvine Unified School District. Because of this, Woodbridge High School will host its home football games in the stadium as well. Jonathan Keene, the head construction manager for C.W. Driver, the company that built the stadium, spoke highly of the stadium. He said, “Because of budget restraints we had to slim some things down, but I think it turned out really great.”
Despite the 7-32 loss, students and parents never stopped cheering! Assistant Principal Matt Pate (Admin.) said, “I mean, obviously when we were playing our games off campus, we had the Trojan Army, and the kids come out, and we had a lot of spirit. But it’s just a different vibe when you’re here on campus!”
The UHS Pep Squad received additional attention at this special home opening. Each cheerleader stood on a box with their names printed in cursive. First year Varsity Song member Adena Seidenberg (Jr.) said, “I was so nervous and thrilled that I almost fell off my box.” The cheers were presented in front of the stands for everyone to watch and get pumped up.
Reflecting on the her experiences in the stadium and as the new Cheer Advisor, Ms. Katie Addiss (English Dept.) said, “It’s so fun. It brings me back to my high school days when I was a cheerleader. The girls are really great, they work really hard, and I think their efforts totally show.”
There have always been talks about a stadium being built at school. However, until recently it was only a dream. Mr. Pehrson said, “9 years ago when I came to UHS and I asked about a stadium, they told me, ‘Don’t worry. It’s not going to happen in your lifetime.’” Over the past few years, parents, staff and students have all worked together to make the stadium a reality. Former Pacific Coast League All League wide receiver Tyler Stanek (2012) said, “I really wish we could have enjoyed the stadium like you guys, but it’s a great atmosphere with the fans and the students. Everyone’s happy to be out here. I’m just glad they get to enjoy it in a new stadium.”
The next home football game is Friday, September 20 at 7:00 pm vs. La Quinta.
Written by Celine Gruaz and Abbie George