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Bold and Bright: Roadrunners Kicking It under the Lights

September 11, 2023

Photo credit: Peter Bonilla

It was a magical night for the Roadrunner community, and represented the unquantifiable amount of energy, resources, and support that made it happen. On Wednesday, September 6, the Ramapo College NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer team played at home…under the lights. For the first fall season ever, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, and Field Hockey will host night games and play with “Rowdies” (the affectionate term for Roadrunner student fans) in the stands cheering them on.

Photo credit: Peter Bonilla

A pre-game ceremony was held at midfield, which included a ribbon-cutting performed by Ramapo College President Cindy Jebb; Athletics Director Jan Koslowsky; Vice President of Strategic Enrollment, Engagement, and Outreach Chris Romano; Vice President of Student Well-Being Melissa Van Der Wall, and Capital Planning Construction Project Manager Kostas Svarnas, surrounded by members of the 2023 NDA National Champions RCNJ Dance Team. President Jebb kicked the ball with the men’s soccer team captains Mark Buckel ’24 of Glen Rock and Nebi Ademi ’24 of Wayne.

Photo credit: Tessa Pofahl ’26

The team ran onto the field with Fall Out Boy’s “Light ‘Em Up” blasting through the speakers. The crowd, upwards of 1,000 fans, cheered for the Roadrunners. Ramapo Athletics arranged for giveaways including Kona Ice and rally towels to kick off a season of home night games for students to enjoy this fall. The energy in the stands was palpable, coming from students, families, and friends wearing maroon and Ramapo merch, taking selfies and pics of each other and the game.

“Seeing the amount of school spirit that night was incredible. Having lights is going to allow for students to be able to attend games at night rather than mid-day when many students are in class,” said student-athlete Karly Wittenbauer ’26 of Edison. “As a fellow D3 student-athlete who plays basketball indoors and never had to worry about playing home games at night, I am incredibly happy for the outdoor athletes who can now play home games to a crowd cheering for them under the lights. I think that night games for our fall varsity teams will increase school spirit not only those sports, but boost support for all of our varsity teams all year. I’m really excited and I can’t wait for the next game under the new lights!”

Photo credit: Peter Bonilla

The electricity in the air was palpable for the men’s soccer team that night. Nebi Ademi, captain, shared, “Having the lights at the turf field creates a new environment for us as players. Having games at night is such a boost for us on the field, having the large crowd and a great atmosphere to give us a little extra gear during a tough game. It also creates flexibility in terms of schooling with games and/or practices later during the day, giving us more time for studying and having class.”

Ramapo defender Ederson La Torre keeps the ball out of offensive play by Moravian.

It is that last point that is particularly important for the well-being of the athletes. Without lights on the turf field, practices had to be held during the day, which created challenges with course scheduling. All evening games had to be played on the road, which meant a much smaller fanbase of students, families, and friends in the stands to provide stadium energy for the players. The additional time needed to travel to and from games meant less time for studying and important wellness breaks to refuel and recharge.

The Ramapo College NCAA D3 Women’s Soccer team was the first to experience practicing on the turf at night. Midfielder/forward Carla Goodwin ’24 of Wayne said, “Playing under the lights on our home turf is a feeling like no other. I’ve always loved playing night games because of the atmosphere it creates. Being able to play the sport I love with the community coming out to cheer us on is going to be such a fun experience.” The team’s first home game under the lights is on Friday, October 7, at 7 p.m. against New Jersey City University.

Ramapo College NCAA DIII Field Hockey plays their first night game at home on Wednesday, September 27, at 7 p.m. against Western Connecticut State University. Forward Tessa Pofahl ’26 of Hainesport is looking forward to her team’s first night game. “There is just something so thrilling about playing at night. I have played field hockey for nine years, and I still get the same rush I felt as a child when playing a night game. What makes the September 27 game even more special is that we are the first group of field hockey players in Ramapo history to play under the lights . This is such a special moment for all of us to be a part of and I feel so lucky to be able to share this moment with my teammates and coaches.”

Athletic Center Turf Field

Home games are free for all Ramapo College students with their ID. Tickets for adults are $5.00 and just $2.00 for children. Follow the Ramapo College Roadrunners on Instagram @rcnjathletics. To view the Ramapo Athletics schedule, visit