When the idea of a clubhouse for the softball and soccer teams turned from concept to reality, Cindy Masner knew what she had to do. The former Long Beach State softball player had to step up to the plate once more.
To help get the project started, Masner, Deputy Athletics Director/Senior Women’s Administrator, set up a $50,000 challenge to help fund the new Softball/Soccer Clubhouse that broke ground Wednesday behind the softball complex. The clubhouse, set to be completed this summer, will include individual lockers, sports medicine space and team rooms for both programs. Previously, the two have been using public locker rooms in the Kinesiology building and the Walter Pyramid for team meetings and sports medicine treatment
"I needed to be part of this and I had to lead if I was going to ask others to donate,” said Masner, who said her mother left her money when she passed nine years ago. “The women of my era are at a point in their lives where we should be giving back.
“So, I am giving and I’m challenging everyone to give to this project and other projects.”
The project began when donors Doug and Sandy Leafstedt, softball coach Kim Sowder, soccer coach Mauricio Ingrassia and Masner met with President Jane Close Conoley at her home. Conoley didn’t hesitate to give the project the go-ahead.
“Most people think “Oh, they’re a state university, they get state money to do it.’ That’s so 2001. Those days are over.
“Raising money for women’s athletics is a special uphill climb, and that’s because of the world we live in. It’s wrong, right. It is a special kind of effort to get supporters excited about women’s athletics, even when our women’s teams are in championship brackets all the time. So, I’m just saying that out loud so I know that you know that we have to work harder to support our women’s programs so that they have comparable facilities and support as the rest of the athletic department.”
Conoley said she is “especially grateful for Sandy and Doug’s support.”
The Leafstedts are familiar faces around the Long Beach State athletic programs. They hold season tickets to many sports, but Doug Leafstedt said they hold “a special affection for soccer and softball,” which is why they are the initial donors.
“We have a daughter who was a Division I athlete, so we understand female athletes and the challenges of female athletes,” Doug Leafstedt said.
Sowder said the Leafstedts and Conoley are the reason the teams will have a clubhouse next season.
“A year and a half ago, some of my players told me that President Conoley said she would get them a locker room. That was a great day because I knew if President Conoley said it, it was going to happen,” Sowder said.