Let There Be Light On Michael Simon Field

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 6:59 PM EDT
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Fort Kent, Maine (WAGM) - The University of Maine at Fort Kent received a major gift from Jamil Simon to fund lighting their soccer field. Simon is making the contributions in memory of his late brother Michael Simon. In honor of Michael, the soccer field will be renamed the Michael Simon field.

Deb Hedeen- " Michael Simon was a very active and engaged member of the Fort Kent community and recently he passed away. And In memory of him, his family has decided to establish an incredible generous gift to the university of 300,000 to have lights on our field here at the University”.

For Michael Simon, a beloved member of the UMFK community, when it came to athletics, he was very involved in going to the games and practice, as well as talking to the players on the soccer team. (Courtesy)Everyone had a story when talking about Michael.

Oniqueky Samuels: " I know Mike since 2007 when i was here as a student, i met him in the cafeteria and i was a little bit shocked for the reason that he knew my name, he knew the position that i played. When i became the head coach, he approached me, he could tell me stuff about the team, opponents and so forth”.

No matter who you ask, everyone is excited about putting lights on the soccer field. With Northern Maine Weather, managing practice and game times with classes can be challenging.

Oniqueky Samuels: " Were trying to squeeze practice at 3:30 to 5, and then sometimes there is classes from 5 until 7 right, so for a student-athlete here in Northern Maine, its a little bit more challenging then what we think”. Too often, you know we had practice sessions with 70 percent of the student athlete(s), 80 percent, 90 percent and you know we just have to live with it because its just the hand that were dealt”.

concerning benefits for the athletes, the lights will allow them to better manage class time and athletics, allowing for a more manageable experience at the college.

Oniqueky Samuels: " So now were able to extend, daylight in a sense right. So were able to actually have a practice session at 7 pm or a practice session at 8 pm, when the athlete, student-athlete actually (can) sit, relax, and go to class, and then they can take a couple of hours to get in tune with themselves, so this generous gesture is going to do a lot of great things for umfk, its going to great things in terms of recruiting, retaining student athlete(s)”.

There’s also a lot of excitement and anticipation for what the funding for the lights does for the community and fans who might not have been able to see the games due to the time of day the games had to be played.

Carly Flowers: “I love the community atmosphere, i love getting out and talking to people. So if we have night games, and people are able to come and be on our campus, its really fun, it adds to the atmosphere. Playing in the evenings, under the lights is always an experience that athletes love to do and fans love to be here and experience that as well. " Were hoping for groundbreaking for the lights in spring of 2023 and hopefully a dedication for the lights in fall of 2023 and then we can start using them in the fall season for both men’s and women’s soccer”.

With everything confirmed, the last thing needed is to procure the lights for Michael Simon field. And with the lights, UMFK can continue its winning ways and show off its close knit community.

Jonathon Eigenmann, Newssource sports.

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