Feature: Cutter, Mountain Lions eager to open new stadium
The last time Art Cutter played in front of a packed stadium he was leading Colorado Springâ€TMs Liberty High School to a state championship. On Friday at 7 p.m., Cutter and the rest of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs soccer team will play the inaugural game at Mountain Lion stadium in front of what they hope will be a ruckus crowd in excess of the school-record 445 that attended a match against Fort Lewis on Oct. 26, 2003.
â€œItâ€TMs definitely going to be the most people Iâ€TMve played in front of since high school,â€ Cutter said. â€œItâ€TMs really exciting.â€
Exciting may be an understatement. Before the state-of-the-art Mountain Lion Stadium was built, the soccer team used to practice on a field that played more like a beat-down dirt parking lot.
â€œBalls used to jump over our heads at the old practice field,â€ Cutter explained.
The practice field was so bad that it even affected the teamâ€TMs chemistry.
â€œWe would get so frustrated from the field,â€ said Cutter. â€œGuys would yell at each other for no reason. It was so unnecessary.â€
What a difference a year makes! Now, UCCS practices at Mountain Lion Stadium where the conditions rival that of a professional soccer team.
Cutter has seen a difference.
â€œWe are able to make crisp passes now,â€ Cutter said. â€œWe have so much more confidence in each other.â€
Confidence is an issue that Cutter has dealt with since joining the Mountain Lions in 2003. After his freshmen year in which he started just five of the 18 games the Mountain Lions played, he decided to not participate in the 2004 season.
â€œI lost my enjoyment for the game,â€ Cutter explained.
He sat out the entire season in which the Mountain Lions went just 4-13. After seeing the struggles of the team, Cutter realized life without soccer was not a life he wanted.
â€œI saw how much I missed (soccer),â€ he explained. â€œI experienced time without soccer and I donâ€TMt want to do that again.â€
As the saying goes: Something good usually comes out of something bad. Luckily, for UCCS and Cutter, the good was that Cutter came back with a renewed passion for soccer.
â€œThe time off really help reinforce how much I loved the game,â€ Cutter said.
To find evidence of this renewed love for the game one needs to look no further than his stats. Cutter started all ten of the Mountain Lions games during which he was healthy last season, scoring one goal and anchoring the defense. This year he started right where he left off, scoring a header goal in the season opener against the University of Mary while still leading the talented UCCS defense. For his efforts, Cutter was named the RMAC defensive player of the week for last weeks games.
With the soccer teamâ€TMs early success and a new stadium, Cutter is thrilled at the prospects of this season.
â€œWe used to play (our games) all the way across town at a field with no stands or lights,â€ he said. â€œItâ€TMs going to be really nice to have fans.â€
However, Cutter does realize that with fan and university support, comes higher expectations.
â€œWe canâ€TMt have wishy-washy seasons anymore. Winning three games and then losing three games wonâ€TMt work.â€
But Cutter is confident that this season is going to be one to remember.
â€œI feel we have more quality players than ever before,â€ he said. â€œWe are going to have a good year.â€
Cutter has gone from dirt pit to state-of-the-art, from quitting the team to starting on the team. Heâ€TMs hoping his next journey will lead to record crowds and an RMAC playoff spot.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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