It’s 1995 in Greenville SC and who better to open Furman University’s brand new Eugene Stone Stadium than Brazillian soccer legend Pelé.
On a Sunny Sunday, Furman University’s administration could not have been more pleased with the debut of Eugene Stone Stadium as it played host to an overflow crowd of 3,602. The crowd was treated to a thrilling two-overtime match against a nationally-renowned opponent and an intense in-state rival.
The debut match at Eugene Stone Stadium was everything the Furman players could have hoped for, with one exception: four additional seconds. The game, which was a tightly-contested match, appeared to end in a tie but ultimately ended in a 2-1 loss for Furman, as South Carolina scored a goal after time had expired in the overtime period.
The goal was a result of a direct kick taken by Clint Mathis, which sailed past the goalkeeper into the upper left corner of the net. However, the game officials had not stopped play for a foul that led to Mathis’ kick, but later added four seconds to the expired clock.
The outcome of the game was final and Furman’s Athletic Director Bob Warming stated that he would not discourage the coach from filing a complaint with NISOA, the sport’s governing body.
“It’s a shame the game had to end that way,” said Allison, whose team fell behind 1-0 early but forged a 1-1 tie on senior Bubba Self’s goal with 39:37 left in regulation play.
“In the first half, South Carolina definitely dominated us. In the second half, I thought we turned the corner and played them tougher,” said Allison, in his first season at Furman after working four years as an assistant to USC coach Mark Berson.
“They battled us; I knew they would,” said Berson. “Before the game, I reminded our players about this series. I wanted them to know we hadn’t won here for several years (since 1989).”
Pelé won three FIFA World Cups with Brazil and is the only player to do so. He also won multiple individual awards during his career, including the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball and the Ballon d’Or.
The Eugene Stone Stadium and Soccer Complex Today: