Women's Soccer Players Move into New Locker Room at Sparks Center

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's soccer team moved into their locker room on Wednesday, becoming the first athletic squad to take over space following Phase 2 of the Sparks Center renovation.

To date, more than $110,000 has been raised from Bearcat women's soccer alumni, parents and supporters to make the project possible. The university continues to seek sponsors for individual lockers. To sponsor a locker, visit http://willamette.edu/go/sparkslockers.

"This is a special moment in time where the past meets the present and the impact will stretch far into the future," Willamette Head Coach Hillary Arthur said. "We are so thankful to our women’s soccer alumni and numerous donors for their support and funding for our team locker room. We couldn’t have done without you all. We have waited a long time to have a place of our own, and it’s great to finally be in the team room! It's a great day to be a Bearcat.

The Willamette women's soccer team has an outstanding history with an all-time record prior to this season of 378-195-54 (.689), including a solid 228-81-31 record (.716) in conference action.

WU reached the NAIA Regionals five consecutive years from 1993 through 1997, including a trip to the NAIA Nationals in 1996. Since then, the Bearcats have qualified for the NCAA Tournament five times, from 1998 through 2001 and in 2006.

The Bearcats reached the NCAA Elite Eight in 1998, 2000 and 2001. WU advanced to the Final Four in 1998 and 2001.

June (Brasted) Chapman '40, Tracy Thom '88, Kathy Kelso '90, Jamie Barton '98, Robin (Heard) Buckingham '99 and Liz (Heaston) Thompson have been inducted into the Willamette Athletic Hall of Fame, along with the entire 1998 team.

Arthur was named Northwest Conference Women's Soccer Coach of the Year in 2011.

The new locker room for the Bearcat women's soccer team opened on Wednesday.

The new locker room for the Bearcat women's soccer team opened on Wednesday.

Willamette women's soccer players met with Athletic Director David Rigsby and President Stephen Thorsett before entering the locker room.

Willamette women's soccer players met with Athletic Director David Rigsby and President Stephen Thorsett before entering the locker room.