The first athletic contest on the new Redlands East Valley High football/soccer field will happen this month, barring delays.
And the excitement is building as the Wildcat boys’ soccer team prepares for its Senior Night game at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31 against visiting Redlands.
Two days later, also at 5:30 p.m., the Wildcat girls will host Cajon of San Bernardino in a game that is also expected to be played on the new synthetic turf at REV that was installed in November.
The permanent stands with about 2,500 seats on the home side and 1,500 on the visitors will …
“We’ll do our Senior Nights for both boys and girls (on the new field),” REV assistant principal Ron Kroetz said. “We want our seniors to play at least one game on their home turf.”
REV players can’t wait.
“It’s a true honor for my teammates and I to be the first to compete at our new stadium,” REV junior boys’ player Tait Whittemore said. “We have a great group of seniors who have dedicated a lot to our program. I’m really excited for the seniors who will finally have a chance to play at our home.”
Kroetz left his administrative office on a recent weekday to show off the new turf at what will be, in the future, a 4,000-seat stadium.
“The administration, the teachers, and the kids are all excited,” Kroetz said. “These two kids were walking down there, and I said, ‘Where are you going?’ They wanted to see the new field. After, I said, ‘What do you think?’ and they said, ‘Man, that’s sick (impressive).’”
REV opened in 1997 but it has taken more than a quarter-century to get to this point.
Portable bleachers will be brought in until the stadium gets permanent seating. A scoreboard and a press box will be added later. But what exists now is green, synthetic turf with a Wildcat logo in the middle and “REV” and “WILDCATS” printed in opposite end zones.
There is also a running track around the football field. As of last weekend, the nine lanes on the track had not been painted in.
It is not anything as grand as the Los Angeles Galaxy, but a soccer team is coming to Redlands.
The main parking above will be used for the stadium, as well as a smaller lower lot. There are also some outdoor basketball courts next to the lower lot that will be utilized for football games, Kroetz said.
For many longtime REV fans and casual observers, REV getting a stadium after all these years is almost unbelievable.
“Everyone I tell this is happening to says, ‘Oh, I’ll believe it when I see it,’” Kroetz said. “But here it is.”