Arlington, Va. – Five words, repeated early and often, signaled a new era for Marymount University athletics: “Welcome to Long Bridge Park!”
The November 5 ribbon-cutting ceremony at Long Bridge Park in Arlington officially opened the new home of the Marymount University men’s and women’s lacrosse and soccer teams. The facility gives the Saints a long-awaited home field after years of playing at local parks and high school stadiums.
Marymount partnered with Arlington County to fund the development of one of Long Bridge Park’s three state-of-the-art synthetic-turf fields and will provide an annual contribution for field maintenance in return for a specified amount of practice and playing time.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Marymount President Matthew D. Shank described the arrangement as a “perfect partnership” that benefits both the University and the community. Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan agreed, noting that community members will be able to use the field when the University is not scheduled to do so. Calling the arrangement a “win-win,” she stated, “Marymount University has been a partner with us from the very beginning. We would have had two fields; we have three because of Marymount.”
Long Bridge Park’s three playing fields are enhanced by such surrounding amenities as an esplanade with views of the DC monuments, picnic terraces, and rain gardens. Famous sites visible from the park’s highest point include the Air Force Memorial, Crystal City, the Pentagon, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Virginia and the National Cathedral, Kennedy Center, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Capitol, and Nationals Park in the District. The community has plans to expand the park; a fourth field and an aquatic center are under consideration.
After the ribbon-cutting, the Marymount Saints christened their new home field with a pair of soccer scrimmages. The first intercollegiate contest at Long Bridge Park will pit Marymount’s men’s lacrosse team against visiting St. Vincent College on Saturday, February 25. The women’s squad will get its first game there on Saturday, March 10, against Washington & Lee University. Marymount University Athletics is planning a day-long celebration to coincide with the first doubleheader at the park, on Saturday, March 17.
Photos by Laurie Callahan