In its ninth decade of use as a multi-sport fa-cility, Fetzer Field is one of the premier soccer domains in the nation and has been a site where many signature events in UNC athletic history have taken place over the years. Fetzer Field serves as the Home of the Tar Heels for men's and women's lacrosse and men's and women's soccer. The Irwin Belk Track at Fetzer Field is the home of the men's and women's track and field teams. The University of North Carolina women's soccer program is fortunate to call Fetzer Field its home stadium.
Fetzer was originally built in 1935 with extensive upgrades taking place from 1988-90. The facility has been host to the NCAA Women's College Cup semifinal and final games seven times in the history of the tournament.
A Fetzer Field record crowd of 7,212, at the time the most to ever see a women's collegiate soccer game, watched the No. 1 Tar Heels fall to No. 4 Notre Dame 1-0 in the 1995 NCAA semifinals.
The largest regular-season crowd in Fetzer Field lore witnessed the top-ranked Tar Heels' 5-1 victory over second-ranked Notre Dame on September 13, 1998 as 6,024 fans streamed through the Fetzer Field gates.
Large crowds are a regular part of UNC women's soccer history. Carolina led the NCAA in average home attendance five straight years from 1998-2002. Since the NCAA initially compiled attendance figures in 1998, Carolina has always ranked in the top five in average home attendance. Carolina ranked second in average home attendance in 2003 and 2004, stood third in the standings in 2005, 2007 and 2009, ranked fourth in 2008 and was fifth in 2006.
There is no college team in the country that can compare to UNC when packing a stadium. The Tar Heels played Notre Dame in the NCAA championship game on December 5, 1999 before a crowd of 14,410 in San Jose, Calif. That is the largest crowd in NCAA women's soccer history. On August 25, 2006, the Tar Heels played Texas A&M before a crowd of 8,204 in College Station, Texas. That marked the largest regular-season crowd to ever watch a game in NCAA women's soccer history. Given the success of the program it comes as no surprise that the Tar Heels have amassed one of the best home records in collegiate sports history. Carolina enters the 2010 season with a record of 295-12-6 at Fetzer Field. In those 313 home games, Carolina has outscored its foes by 1,264 goals. In those games, UNC has scored 1,413 times and its opponents have tallied 149 goals.
Named for former Tar Heel athletic director and track coach Robert Allison Fetzer, the stadium has been the home of Carolina's soccer programs since 1947, the first year that UNC sponsored a varsity men's team. The women's program was started in 1979 as one of the first varsity women's programs in the nation. Anson Dorrance has been the only head coach of the women's program in that time and only four men have served as the head coach of men's teams in games played at Fetzer Field since 1947.
Located in the heart of the Carolina campus directly adjacent to Carmichael Auditorium on South Road, also referred to as Raleigh Road, the playing field, track and grandstand was completed in 1935 as a Works Project Administration program during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the heart of the Great Depression, the building of Fetzer Field provided a plethora of much needed jobs to Tar Heel natives who were then suffering through economic deprivation. The facility's renovations over the years have made it one of the most beautiful all-around collegiate venues in the nation. Fetzer Field sits in a natural valley in the center of campus surrounded by Carmichael Arena, the Michael Hooker intramural fields, the Institute of Government, the Eddie Smith Field House, Henry Stadium, the Navy Field football and lacrosse practice fields, Teague and Carmichael dormitories and Kessing Outdoor Pool.
Beginning in 1988 and continuing over a period of two years, the playing field itself was reworked and leveled, the grandstand was refitted with new aluminum bleachers, a new track was installed, lights were added, two ticket booths were added to the front gate, a permanent concession stand was erected and a computer scoreboard/message center was installed.
Large crowds have been the rule at Fetzer Field since the inception of the women's program in 1979. The two largest crowds attended Tar Heel matchups against Notre Dame. The third largest crowd was in attendance for Mia Hamm's collegiate finale, A total of 5,721 fans were on hand at Fetzer Field as Carolina routed George Mason 6-0 in the NCAA title game on November 21, 1993.
The facility has been home not only to women's soccer NCAA championship rounds and ACC Tournaments, but also to ACC Track and Field Championships, the N.C. High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships, the National Junior Olympics in track and field, men's soccer, men's lacrosse and women's lacrosse ACC Tournaments, men's soccer NCAA first and second round and quarterfinal action, NCAA men's lacrosse tournament action in first round, quarterfinal and semifinal games and women's lacrosse matches in first rounds and quarterfinals. In the summer of 1996, the facility was the home training site for the U.S. Track and Field Team as it prepared for the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.
The Irwin Belk Track is an international-style track. This means the turns are European-style and are wider than most American tracks, resulting in broader curves and faster times, especially in the 200 and 400 meter races.
A brand-new Daktronic scoreboard that is capable of instantaneous results, was installed. The board is lined to the two Accutrak systems installed to record the times of the races so that immediately following the conclusion of the race, the six-best times will appear on the scoreboard.
Fetzer Field has been home to women's soccer NCAA and ACC Championships, the 1991 and 1993 ACC Track and Field Championships, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships, the National Junior Olympics, men's soccer and men's lacrosse ACC Tournaments, men's soccer NCAA first and second round action and NCAA men's lacrosse tournament action in first rounds, quarterfinal and semifinal games. In the summer of 1996, the facility was the home training site for the United States Track and Field Team as it prepared for the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Some of the largest crowds to ever watch women's collegiate soccer games have been at Fetzer Field. In 1988, an estimated throng of 4,500 fans came out to Fetzer for the NCAA final between Carolina and N.C. State. That was, at the time, the largest crowd ever to attend a collegiate women's soccer match.
The 1990 NCAA Tournament drew an estimated 6,700 spectators to the stadium-2,000 to watch the quarterfinal round win over N.C. State, 1,500 for the semifinal round and 3,200 for the championship game.
Another 7,000 fans streamed through the Fetzer Field gates to watch the 1991 NCAA tournament games, which culminated in a title-game victory over Wisconsin.
In 1992, more than 3,500 enthusiasts braved a steady downpour as the Tar Heels crushed ACC rival Duke 9-1 in the national finals.
A year later, in Mia Hamm's collegiate finale, 5,721 fans were on hand at Fetzer as Carolina routed George Mason 6-0 in the title game.
In men's soccer, the largest crowd to watch a Carolina game at Fetzer Field turned out for the game on October 2, 1999. A school-record 3,825 fans watched the Tar Heels battle the Duke Blue Devils.