Soccer-specific Stadium
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Soccer-specific Stadium

Exploria Stadium, home of Orlando City SC, is a soccer-specific stadium

Soccer-specific stadium is a term used mainly in the United States and Canada[1] to refer to a sports stadium either purpose-built or fundamentally redesigned for soccer and whose primary function is to host soccer matches, as opposed to a multi-purpose stadium which is for a variety of sports. A soccer-specific stadium may host other sporting events (such as lacrosse, American football and rugby) and concerts, but the design and purpose of a soccer-specific stadium is primarily for soccer. Some facilities (for example SeatGeek Stadium, Toyota Stadium and Mapfre Stadium) have a permanent stage at one end of the stadium used for staging concerts.

A soccer-specific stadium typically has amenities, dimensions and scale suitable for soccer in North America, including a scoreboard, video screen, luxury suites and possibly a roof. The field dimensions are within the range found optimal by FIFA: 110-120 yards (100-110 m) long by 70-80 yards (64-75 m) wide.[2] These soccer field dimensions are wider than the regulation American football field width of yards (48.8 m), or the 65-yard (59 m) width of a Canadian football field. The playing surface typically consists of grass as opposed to artificial turf, as the latter is generally disfavored for soccer matches since players are more susceptible to injuries.[3] However, some soccer specific stadiums, such as Portland's Providence Park and Creighton University's Morrison Stadium, do have artificial turf.

The seating capacity is generally between 18,000 and 30,000 for a Major League Soccer franchise,[4] or smaller for college or minor league soccer teams. This is in comparison to the much larger American football stadiums that mostly range between 60,000 and 80,000 in which the original North American Soccer League teams played and most MLS teams occupied during the league's inception.[5] As opposed to gridiron-style football stadiums, where the front row of seats is elevated several feet above the field of play to allow spectators to see over the heads of substitute players and coaches on the sidelines, soccer-specific venues typically have the front row closer to the level of the pitch.[6][7]

History

The Columbus Crew Stadium (now Mapfre Stadium) was the first soccer-specific stadium in MLS

In the 1980s and 1990s, first-division professional soccer leagues in the United States, such as the North American Soccer League and Major League Soccer, primarily used American football fields, many of which were oversized in terms of seating capacity and undersized in terms of width of the soccer field; they often used artificial turf (none of which, at the time, were approved for international soccer under FIFA rules).[] Although many of the baseball parks had smaller capacities, natural grass, and a wider field, these parks were generally in use during summer, when North American-based soccer leagues, such as Major League Soccer, also hold their seasons, and the irregular field dimensions and sightlines were often considered undesirable.

Soccer-specific stadiums first came into use in the 1990s, after the multi-purpose stadium era.[8][9]

The term "soccer-specific stadium" was coined by Lamar Hunt, who financed the construction of the Columbus Crew Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium constructed specifically for Major League Soccer.[8] In the 2000s, other Major League Soccer teams in the United States began constructing their own stadiums. Canada's first soccer-specific stadium was BMO Field in Toronto, home to Toronto FC. This stadium was renovated to accommodate Canadian football for the 2016 and subsequent seasons.[10] The distinction is less prominent in Canada, where MLS's attendance figures are comparable to those of the domestic Canadian Football League, and the CFL's wider field means fewer compromises must be made to accommodate both; Tim Hortons Field was built purposely to both soccer specifications and CFL regulations. Of the three Canadian cities that host both MLS and CFL teams, only one (Montreal) has separate stadiums for each.

Major League Soccer (MLS)

Current MLS soccer-specific stadiums

Proposed MLS soccer-specific stadiums

In 2011 Bob Lenarduzzi confirmed that the Vancouver Whitecaps are now committed to BC Place, and that plans for the waterfront stadium have been put on hold.[11]

National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)

Current NWSL soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity Opened
Audi Field Washington Spirit Washington, D.C. 20,000 2018
BBVA Stadium Houston Dash Houston, Texas 22,039 2012
Exploria Stadium Orlando Pride Orlando, Florida 25,500 2017
Lynn Family Stadium Racing Louisville FC Louisville, Kentucky 11,700 2021
Providence Park Portland Thorns FC Portland, Oregon 25,218 2011
Red Bull Arena Sky Blue FC Harrison, New Jersey 25,000 2010
Rio Tinto Stadium Utah Royals FC Sandy, Utah 20,213 2008
SeatGeek Stadium Chicago Red Stars Bridgeview, Illinois 20,000 2006
Segra Field Washington Spirit Leesburg, Virginia 5,000 2019
WakeMed Soccer Park North Carolina Courage Cary, North Carolina 10,000 2002

USL Championship (USLC)

Current USLC soccer-specific stadiums

All USL Championship teams will be required to play in self-owned, soccer-specific stadiums by the 2020 season. The following is a list of current USL stadiums that are soccer-specific stadiums:

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity Opened
Al Lang Stadium Tampa Bay Rowdies St. Petersburg, Florida 7,227 1947 (2015 renovation)[n 1]
American Legion Memorial Stadium Charlotte Independence Charlotte, North Carolina 10,500 1934 (2019-2021 renovation)
BBVA Field Birmingham Legion FC Birmingham, Alabama 5,000 2019
Bold Stadium Austin Bold FC Austin, Texas 5,000 2019
Cashman Field Las Vegas Lights FC Las Vegas, Nevada 9,334 1983 (2019-2020 renovation)[n 2]
Casino Arizona Field Phoenix Rising FC Tempe, Arizona 6,200 2017
Champion Stadium Orange County SC Irvine, California 5,000 2017
Children's Mercy Park Sporting Kansas City II Kansas City, Kansas 18,467 2011
Dillon Stadium Hartford Athletic Hartford, Connecticut 5,500 1960 (2019 renovation)
Fifth Third Bank Stadium Atlanta United 2 Kennesaw, Georgia 8,318 2010
H-E-B Park Rio Grande Valley FC Toros Edinburg, Texas 9,400 2017
Highmark Stadium Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 5,000 2013
Laney College Oakland Roots SC Oakland, California 5,500 2019
Lynn Family Stadium Louisville City FC Louisville, Kentucky 11,700 2020
MSU Soccer Park at Pittser Field New York Red Bulls II Montclair, New Jersey 5,000 1998 (Renovated 2016, 2018)
Papa Murphy's Park Sacramento Republic FC Sacramento, California 11,242 2014
Patriots Point Soccer Complex Charleston Battery Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 3,500 2000
Segra Field Loudoun United FC Leesburg, Virginia 5,000 2019
Taft Stadium Oklahoma City Energy FC Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 5,000 1934
Toyota Field San Antonio FC San Antonio, Texas 8,296 2013
WakeMed Soccer Park North Carolina FC Cary, North Carolina 10,000 2002
Weidner Field Colorado Springs Switchbacks Colorado Springs, Colorado 8,000 2021
Zions Bank Stadium Real Monarchs Herriman, Utah 5,000 2018

Proposed USL soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) Metro area Proposed capacity
York College Queensboro FC Queens, New York 7,500

NCAA (Division I)

Stadium Team(s) City Capacity Opened
Albert-Daly Field William & Mary Tribe Williamsburg, Virginia 1,000 2004
Ambrose Urbanic Field Pittsburgh Panthers Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 735 2011
BBVA Field UAB Blazers Birmingham, Alabama 5,000 2015
Belson Stadium St. John's Red Storm Queens, New York 2,600 2001
Bill Armstrong Stadium Indiana Hoosiers Bloomington, Indiana 6,500 1981
Columbia Soccer Stadium Columbia Lions Manhattan, New York 3,500 1985
Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium West Virginia Mountaineers Morgantown, West Virginia 1,600 2004
Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium Louisville Cardinals Louisville, Kentucky 5,300 2014
Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium Minnesota Golden Gophers Falcon Heights, Minnesota 1,000 1999
Ellis Field Texas A&M Aggies College Station, Texas 3,500 1994
Eugene E. Stone III Stadium South Carolina Gamecocks Columbia, South Carolina 5,000 1981
Harder Stadium UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Santa Barbara, California 17,000 1966
Hermann Stadium Saint Louis Billikens St. Louis, Missouri 6,050 1999
Hofstra University Soccer Stadium Hofstra Pride Hempstead, New York 1,600 2003
Hurricane Soccer & Track Stadium Tulsa Golden Hurricane Tulsa, Oklahoma 2,000 2003
Lamar Soccer Complex Lamar Lady Cardinals Beaumont, Texas 500 2009
Mazzella Field Iona Gaels New Rochelle, New York 2,400 1989
Mean Green Village North Texas Mean Green Denton, Texas 1,000 2006
Merlo Field Portland Pilots Portland, Oregon 4,892 1990
Mike Rose Soccer Complex Memphis Tigers Memphis, Tennessee 2,500 2001
Morrison Stadium Creighton Bluejays Omaha, Nebraska 6,000 2003
Morrone Stadium UConn Huskies Storrs, Connecticut 5,100 1969
Nicholls Soccer Complex Nicholls State Colonels Thibodaux, Louisiana 1,000 1998
Old Dominion Soccer Complex Old Dominion Monarchs and Lady Monarchs Norfolk, Virginia 4,000 1990
Riggs Field Clemson Tigers Clemson, South Carolina 6,500 1915
Roberts Stadium Princeton Tigers Princeton, New Jersey 2,356 2008
SU Soccer Stadium Syracuse Orange Syracuse, New York 1,500 1996
University of Denver Soccer Stadium Denver Pioneers Denver, Colorado 2,000 2009
UNCG Soccer Stadium University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, North Carolina 3,540 1990
Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex Marshall Thundering Herd Huntington, West Virginia 1,006 2013
Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium Hawaiʻi Rainbow Wahine Waipiʻo, Hawaii 4,500 2000
Yurcak Field Rutgers Scarlet Knights Piscataway, New Jersey 5,000 1994

Other soccer-specific stadiums

Past soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity Opened Years used Status
Mark's Stadium Fall River F.C. Tiverton (CDP), Rhode Island 15,000 1922 1922-1950s vacant grass lot
Fifth Third Bank Stadium Kennesaw State Owls Kennesaw, Georgia 8,318 2010 2010-present converted to a multi-purpose stadium in 2015 after Kennesaw State University launched their football program

Other countries

The term "football-specific stadium" is sometimes used in countries where the sport is known as football rather than soccer,[] although the term is not common in countries where football is the dominant sport and thus football-specific stadiums are quite common. The term tends to have a slightly different meaning in these countries, usually referring to a stadium without an athletics track surrounding the field.[] Some soccer stadiums in Europe are also used for other sports, including rugby, American football, and field hockey. The problem with oversized stadiums designed for another sport is particularly visible in European American football leagues and conflicts between teams sharing the stadium (a notable example are Eintracht Braunschweig and the Braunschweig Lions which share a stadium) and (often municipal) owners of the stadiums sometimes arise, leading to attempts at single sport-specific venues.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Almost exclusively as a baseball park for over 60 years. However, since the Rowdies moved to the facility in 2011, it has been reconfigured to better host soccer.
  2. ^ The stadium was originally built in 1983 for the Las Vegas Stars and Las Vegas 51s baseball team. It is currently being renovated into a soccer-specific stadium with baseball moved to Las Vegas Ballpark.

References

  1. ^ Sakiewicz, Edward Paul (2006). "Chapter I: Introduction". A Comparative Study of Enterprise Risk Management and Decision Making Criteria Used in Developing Soccer-specific Stadiums for Major League Soccer. p. 24. Retrieved 2015 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Laws of the Game 2010/2011" (PDF). FIFA. p. 7. Retrieved 2010. Although the official Laws of the Game allow for pitches in adult matches to be 100-130 yards (90-120 m) long by 50-100 yards (45-90 m) wide. The more restrictive range is specified for international matches like the ones used in the FIFA World Cup.
  3. ^ Fox Sports (September 10, 2014). "USWNT stars not backing down on artificial playing surface stance". FOX Sports. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ Andrews, Phil (December 31, 2005). "Philadelphia's Field of Dreams: MLS' Newest Home". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ "M.L.S. Continues to Bolster Growing Brand With New Stadium in Houston". The New York Times. Associated Press. May 12, 2012. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ Schrotenboer, Brent (January 12, 2017). "Chargers plan to play in smallest 'NFL stadium' for next two seasons". USA Today. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Hastings, Rob (January 24, 2017). "Spurs are starting a stadium design revolution in Tottenham". iNews. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ a b Arace, Michael (September 10, 2013). "Michael Arace commentary: Aging Crew Stadium still has a big advantage". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ Granillo, Larry (September 14, 2009). "Football, Baseball, and the Era of the "Superstadium"". Wezen-Ball. Retrieved 2015.
  10. ^ "BMO Field". The Stadium Guide. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ Weber, Mark (May 14, 2012). "Fenway Park and the Waterfront Stadium". The Vancouver Province. Retrieved 2013.

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