EUGENE STONE SOCCER STADIUM
In September of 1995, over 3,500 fans joined with international soccer great Pelé in dedicating Furman University’s new Eugene Stone III Soccer Stadium.
The facility, which features a brick and wrought iron fence, 3,000 permanent seats, fully-automated scoreboard, modern press box, and lighting for night games, serves as home of Furman’s sucessful men’s and women’s soccer programs and has been the site of five Southern Conference Tournaments and a pair of NCAA Tournament first round matches.
Named for the late Eugene Stone, long-time Furman benefactor, the $1 million complex is one of several generous gifts made by Stone and the Stone Foundation to Furman University in support of the school’s athletics program.
In 1981 Stone provided the grading work for Furman’s Paladin Stadium football field, which is named in his honor, and in 1983 he initiated significant annual scholarship support for Furman’s men’s soccer program.
During the 2012-13 school year the university will break ground on a $1.6 million, two-story fieldhouse that will house home and visiting team locker rooms, expanded public restrooms, a permanent concession area, referees’ room, and storage space. The second floor will serve as an open-air plaza for watching games.
Due primarily to Stone’s commitment, Furman’s men’s soccer program has responded by winning 19 Southern Conference championships and making eight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the “Elite 8” in 1999 following first and second round wins over North Carolina and Wake Forest, respectively. Furman finished that season 21-2-1 and ranked third in the final Soccer America poll. In 2002, the Paladins posted a 19-3-1 mark, including a pair of NCAA Tournament wins, and in 2007 Furman posted a 19-4 mark and advanced into the NCAA Tournament second round before losing, 1-0, to eventual champion Wake Forest. All told the Paladins have compiled a 107-33-8 record in Stone Stadium (.750).
Furman players who have starred in Stone Stadium include Clint Dempsey, a standout performer with Fulham FC (EPL) and 2006 and 2010 United States World Cup Teams; U.S. National Team and Major League Soccer (MLS) Houston Dynamo standout Ricardo Clark; and Shea Salinas of the MLS San Jose Earthquakes.
Furman women’s soccer, meanwhile, has enjoyed similar success since the program’s start in 1994. Over its 17 seasons of play, the Lady Paladins have captured six conference regular season titles, made five NCAA Tournament appearances, and posted a 102-45-9 home match record in Stone Stadium (.683).