Dreaming of a field to call their own

Marco Fichtner ’17 is a double major in management and marketing with a minor in public relations. If that plate doesn’t sound full enough, he’s also midfielder #23 for the Mount Mercy Mustangs men’s soccer team.

Soccer has been a part of Fichtner’s life since his childhood days in Bühl near the Black Forest hills in Germany. He started playing at the age of five. “It’s just something I’ve always done in my life,” he said when reflecting on the sport. He can’t imagine life without the game.

LJ Putzier swings her bat at the future site of The Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex soccer field.
LJ Putzier swings her bat at the future site of The Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex softball field. The softball field is made possible by the Lavern T. and Audrey Busse Foundation.

“Our team is like a clock and everybody has a part to play in it. Without one part, the clock doesn’t tick anymore. Teamwork is all about little pieces getting together for the greater good.”

That ticking-teamwork is what keeps the sophomore motivated through game season.

“When the season ends, I often feel like I didn’t work as hard as I wanted to—missed opportunities I guess. I ask myself what I can do to make the next one more successful.”

Self-reflection goes a long way to helping Fichtner and his teammates reinforce their footwork. But, the Stangs still face one huge hurdle: no field to call their own.

In Germany, Fichtner played in front of home crowds in the hundreds. Now his games draw approximately 75 supporters.

The master plan for The Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex.

Although he knows his fellow students and Mount Mercy alumni have nothing but pride in their hearts, he understands the challenge involved in traveling to watch soccer games. “Fans don’t always have the time or transportation to fully support us.”

The Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex is critical in Fichtner’s eyes. With a Mustang soccer field just down the hill from main campus, students will be able to stack the stands in droves to cheer on the team.

“It’s different when you play in front of a crowd, especially a crowd you can relate to. It’s what you miss the most when you’re on the field. You think about the fans.”

Another benefit to The Plaster Athletic Complex will be the ease of scheduling. Without a home field, the team must be transported across town for practice and home competition—cutting into studies and student life.

Complex before Construction
By 2017 this dusty plot of land will be home to six Mustang athletic teams: men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s track and field, baseball and softball.

“We can’t practice in the spring because of expense,” Fichtner said. “If we have our own field, we can go there and shoot anytime.” The combination of a re-energized fan base and the additional, convenient practice time opens the door for monumental success.

“Come to a basketball game and see what the atmosphere is like,” Fichtner encouraged. “Other schools say they don’t like to play in Hennessey because our fans are so loud.” He looks forward to the same passion at Plaster Athletic Complex soccer games.

Fichtner wants donors to understand their tremendous impact.

“This complex is something that will be there forever. You can’ take a home field away. The people are going to see what they’ve donated to – and they’re going to love it.”

To learn more about The Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex or to make a donation to Home Field Advantage, visit www.mtmercy.edu/homefield.

Written by Kelli Sanders