Matthew Finders
ASU Student Journalist

Metro Tech athletics await an upgrade

April 6, 2024 by Matthew Finders, Arizona State University

Metro Tech High School's soccer field with the overlapping baseball infield. (Courtesy Metro Tech)

Matt Finders is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Metro Tech High School for 

Due for an upgrade. 

Metro Tech High School athletics has seen tremendous growth in several of its sports programs over the past five years and is now looking to improve its facilities alongside it. 

Sports like volleyball and soccer for both the boys' and girls’ teams have put together multiple winning seasons despite the shortcomings on their home turf. 

However, change appears to be on the way. 

“We are prepping for renovations,” Metro Tech Athletic Director Chad McCluskey said. “The facilities here do not match the talent.” 

The Metro Tech Knights joined the AIA in 2016 and since then, have made steady progress in numerous athletics programs. They’ve also added two new sports to accommodate their student athletes as well. 

“I feel like there’s a lot more acknowledgement and respect for the programs here,” McCluskey said. “The students really do want to be athletes.” 

The main issue for Metro Tech’s sports facilities has been space.  

The Knights have just one gymnasium, a softball field, three tennis courts and a soccer pitch that overlaps the baseball diamond. 

Because they have several sports teams at the varsity, JV and frosh levels, finding a way to schedule around such tight quarters has been difficult and will likely be addressed. 

“All of those are items on our rebuild. Sometimes schools focus only on classrooms and buildings, but at Metro Tech I know a big piece of that remodel is to have new gym facilities and to realign and restructure the outdoor fields too,” McCluskey said. “I think a lot of those changes are necessary and will really invigorate the campus as a whole.” 

Another big issue with the lack of space is the fact that Metro Tech’s most successful program in boys’ soccer has less than ideal conditions for their practices and home games. 

The Knights’s field space is so limited that the soccer pitch is not a traditional rectangular shape and instead is played at a slight angle. 

On top of that, since there is not enough room to separate the soccer pitch from the baseball infield, roughly 10 percent of Metro Tech’s home stand includes the dirt from the diamond. 

“It’s hard to practice with the baseball infield on it. The ball bounces differently and we want to avoid injuries too,” boys’ soccer head coach Erika Parra said. “Soccer cleats are not made for the baseball field, so it was hard to run practices and even harder to have games on our field.” 

Injuries and winter weather are additional concerns affecting the soccer players and their field as well. 

“The area where the soccer field has the baseball infield is a disadvantage because when it rains all the mud gets everywhere making our field more unsafe,” senior center back Luis Hernandez Parra said. “It’s so much more difficult to control the ball, leading to a higher risk of injury due to the conditions on the field.” 

One further renovation idea to combat this issue for Metro Tech is the prospect of adding turf to their stomping grounds.  

Metro Tech soccer is the last remaining team in their region to have a grass field and many of their limitations would be resolved if they decided to make the switch. 

“A turf field provides a consistent playing field that’s always even,” Hernandez Parra said. “By having turf, we can have a safe field and an environmentally friendly landscaping option. It can benefit the school by reducing water usage and maintenance costs too.” 

With Metro Tech High School’s surge in athletics, their hope is to bring enough attention to their needs for better provisions for the continued growth of the rising program.  

“I think the community of Metro Tech as well as Phoenix Union are starting to truly pay attention to the successes we’ve had,” McCluskey said. “And they would agree then that we need that kind of financial support so we can redo those facilities.”