WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Officials from Berkeley College and the Borough of Woodland Park gathered at the Frank Zaccaria Memorial Park on April 14 to commemorate the College’s donation of two soccer goals for use on the newly installed synthetic turf field.
The space, which was made available by the Borough to serve as the home base for Berkeley’s men’s soccer team, is also open to youth soccer teams from the area. Berkeley’s contribution will be accessible by any teams that use the field.
“We have always had an outstanding relationship with Berkeley College,” said Mayor Keith Kazmark. “Now we’re able to work together to advance Berkeley’s mission of supporting athletics at the college level, while at the same time these soccer goals are here to assist the youth in Woodland Park.”
Before this most recent alliance at Zaccaria Park, Berkeley College and Woodland Park have had a long-standing working relationship. Berkeley College’s Woodland Park campus was established in 1976 and is a fixture in the neighborhood.
“We have a great relationship with Berkeley College. They are always there to help us with big things and small things,” said Councilwoman Tina Gatti.
Before the renovated field became available, the Berkeley men’s soccer team rented practice and game space in surrounding areas. A home base is a welcome stable resource for students who have dealt with so much uncertainty over the last year due to the pandemic.
“We are very fortunate to have this available for our student athletes within a five-minute drive from campus. A home turf creates a sense of belonging,” said Andy DeStephano, Berkeley College Director of Athletics.
Likewise, local officials say youth and families are excited to utilize the new field and goals after a difficult year.
“Kids have been in a virtual learning environment for a good amount of the last year. Being able to get them back outside and back into some physical activity is really important,” said Kazmark.