MLS 101: Stadiums
In 2011, PGE Park will join the cast of other great home stadiums around Major League Soccer. MLS features a unique mix of historic venues and new facilities, and the Timbers home field will blend elements of both. Here is a quick tour around MLS looking at teams' stadiums.
Toronto FC - BMO Field One of Major League Soccer's newest soccer-specific venues, BMO Field is the home of Toronto FC as well as Canada's National Soccer teams. Opened in 2007, BMO Field is located in downtown Toronto and saw over 500,000 fans enter through its gates in its first season of operation. Also Canada's first soccer-specific stadium, BMO Field was the main venue for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. With over 260,000 fans watching 12 games, the U-20 World Cup was the third most-watched sporting event in the world that year. BMO Field is owned by the city of Toronto, and also features a winter bubble which supports year-round usage by community, youth and adult soccer leagues.
Seattle Sounders FC - Qwest Field On July 28, 2002, the world's game helped open Qwest Field as the Seattle Sounders, then of the USL First Division, played host to the Vancouver Whitecaps in the stadium's inaugural event. Now a member of Major League Soccer, Seattle Sounders FC joins the NFL's Seattle Seahawks in calling Qwest Field home. Designed with a 67,000-seat capacity, Qwest Field has hosted several major soccer exhibitions and tournaments in recent years, including English powerhouses Manchester United and Chelsea, Spain's Real Madrid and Barcelona, and CONCACAF Gold Cup games. Located in downtown Seattle, Qwest Field is just blocks from Puget Sound and provides a scenic view of the city's skyline.
San Jose Earthquakes - Buck Shaw Stadium Since the San Jose Earthquakes' return to Major League Soccer in 2008, the franchise has played a majority of its home matches a Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Located on the campus of Santa Clara University, the venue was named after former SCU football coach Lawrence T. "Buck" Shaw and opened in 1962. The stadium is no stranger to the sport of soccer, serving as the home of the Bronco men's and women's soccer teams. From 1988-92, the men's squad assembled a 43-match unbeaten streak in Buck Shaw. In 1994, the stadium was the practice facility for the Brazilian National Team during the FIFA World Cup; Brazil would go on to win the 1994 World Cup title.
Real Salt Lake - Rio Tinto Stadium Before a national television audience, Rio Tinto Stadium opened its doors in October 2008, as Real Salt Lake played the New York Red Bulls in the new state-of-the-art sports and entertainment facility. Located in Sandy, Utah, Rio Tinto Stadium has already hosted several marquee events, including the 2009 Major League Soccer All-Star Game. The stadium provides views of both the Oquirrh and Wasatch Mountain ranges and features a natural playing surface designed for Utah's high-desert climate. The playing surface was supplied by the same group who designed the playing surfaces for Lambeau Field, Wrigley Field and Notre Dame Stadium. Â In addition to Real Salt Lake matches, Rio Tinto Stadium has also held USA Ruby events and American football games.
Philadelphia Union - PPL Park A new waterfront stadium in Chester, Pa., PPL Park will be the home of 2010 Major League Soccer expansion club Philadelphia Union. The new facility will hold 18,500 spectators for soccer matches, including a 2,000 person supporters section, and expand to a capacity of 26,000 for concerts. The stadium is situated along the Delaware River and at the foot of the Commodore Barry Bridge and is a key part of a $500 million waterfront revitalization project. Fans at the new facility will have an excellent view of both the pitch and scenery, as 60 percent of the capacity will be able to see both the river and bridge from their seats. The stadium will be constructed with brick and natural stone, giving the building a traditional Philadelphia feel.
New York Red Bulls — Red Bull Arena Set to open this spring, Red Bull Arena will be the new home of Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls. With aspects similar to that of European soccer venues, Red Bull Arena is structured to create a one-of-a kind atmosphere and experience; fans in the front row will be just 21 feet from the touchlines. One of its unique elements is the roof — a curving structure that wraps the entire stadium in a shell. The roof will extend 120 feet from the last seat to just over the field's touchlines, with 60 feet of the roof being translucent, letting in natural light. Located in Harrison, New Jersey, the new Red Bull Arena will hold approximately 25,000 fans.
New England Revolution - Gillette Stadium On May 11, 2002, Gillette Stadium opened its doors as the new home of the New England Revolution and has been one of the longest tenured venues in all of Major League Soccer. With annual world-class soccer events staged at the facility, Gillette Stadium has also become the hub of soccer in the Northeast region. Not only has the multi-sport facility provided a home-field advantage for the Revolution, but also for the men's and women's U.S. National Teams, who have a combined 13-1-1 record at Gillette Stadium. The venue has also played host to major international tournaments and friendlies, including 2003, 2005, and 2007 Gold Cup games, and exhibitions between European powers.
Los Angeles Galaxy & Chivas USA - Home Depot Center A 27,000-seat state-of-the-art soccer stadium, the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., is the home of Major League Soccer clubs the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA. The stadium stages one of the biggest rivalries in MLS each season when its two home teams — Galaxy and Chivas USA - faceoff in the SuperClassico. In addition to MLS competition, the Home Depot Center has hosted major national and international soccer events, including the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup championship match. In addition to being designated as the official training headquarters for the United States Soccer Federation, the Home Depot Center has also been the home for major concert tours, football, rugby and other special events.
Kansas City Wizards - Community America Ballpark Opened in 2003, Community America Ballpark has been the home of the Kansas City Wizards for the past several seasons, providing an intimate and family-friendly atmosphere. The venue, which is also the home of independent baseball club the Kansas City T-Bones, won't be the Wizard's home for much longer as the team broke ground on a new soccer stadium in January 2010. The yet-to-be-named stadium is planned to seat approximately 18,000 people, a vast majority of which will be covered by a distinctive ascending roof inspired by stadiums in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. It is estimated that the new development will draw over 2.5 million outside visitors per year.
Houston Dynamo - Robertson Stadium When the franchise moved to Houston, Texas, in 2006, the Houston Dynamo settled into Robertson Stadium. Also home to University of Houston athletics, Robertson Stadium was originally constructed in 1941. A massive renovation of the facility took place in 1998, thanks to a $6 million gift to the university from the John and Julie O'Quinn Foundation. The upgrade added 20 luxury suites and replaced the track with additional seating, bringing the stadium's capacity to 32,000. In honor of the O'Quinn's generosity and support, the field at Robertson Stadium is now named "John O'Quinn Field."
FC Dallas - Pizza Hut Park On Aug. 6, 2005, Pizza Hut Park, the first large-scale soccer facility of its type in the United States, opened its doors as the new home of FC Dallas. Located 30 miles north of downtown Dallas in Frisco, Texas, Pizza Hut Park played host to the 2005 MLS Cup, and marked the first time the league's champion was crowned in the state of Texas. As part of a massive 117-acre complex, Pizza Hut Park sits adjacent to 17 quality soccer field and holds nearly 22,000 spectators for MLS matches, international exhibitions, major concerts and high school football. In addition, the venue and complex is the headquarters for the U.S. Youth Soccer Association, providing playing fields for numerous youth games and tournaments.
D.C. United - RFK Stadium Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (RFK) has been the home venue for D.C. United since the club and Major League Soccer started in 1996. The stadium, which is the former home of the NFL's Washington Redskins and baseball's Washington Senators, has been the host venue for several major MLS events, including three MLS Cups and two MLS All-Star games. Additionally, RFK was a site for FIFA World Cup games in 1994 and Olympic men's soccer in 1996. The first major stadium designed specifically as a multi-sport facility for both football and baseball, RFK has also provided a stage for some of music's biggest stars, including Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, the Eagles, Elton John and the Grateful Dead.
Columbus Crew - Crew Stadium The first of its kind, Crew Stadium opened in 1999 as the first soccer-specific stadium in Major League Soccer. The 22,555-seat facility has created several benchmarks for other soccer-specific stadiums in MLS. Home to the 2008 and 2009 Supporters Shield-winner Columbus Crew, Crew Stadium has also been a destination for other marquee sports and entertainment events, including the MLS Cup, the MLS All-Star game, men's and women's U.S. Soccer matches, NFL exhibitions, NCAA soccer, high school soccer and football and a variety of music concerts. In front of a home crowd, Columbus captured its first championship — the 2002 U.S. Open Cup — at Crew Stadium.
Colorado Rapids - Dick Sporting Goods Park Including an 18,000-seat stadium and a 24-field soccer complex, Dick Sporting Goods Park is the home of the Colorado Rapids. The award-winning facility was unveiled to the public on April 7, 2007. One of the largest professional stadium-and-field complexes in the world, Dick Sporting Goods Park, located in Commerce City, also houses the city offices of Commerce City, retail outlets and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on its 917-acre site. Open just a few seasons, the facility has already hosted large-scale events, including the 2007 MLS All-Star Game, SuperLiga matches, a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier and international exhibitions featuring some of the world's best clubs.
Chicago Fire - Toyota Park Open for just three Major League Soccer seasons, Toyota Park is the home stadium of the Chicago Fire. Located in Bridgeview, Ill., the facility is owned by the Village of Bridgeview and managed by Andell Sports Group. Toyota Park holds approximately 20,000 for sporting events, and expands to 28,000 for concerts at the venue. Among its notable amenities are 42 luxury suites and a full-service Stadium Club. Other professional clubs that call Toyota Park home are the Chicago Red Stars of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) and the Chicago Machine of Major League Lacrosse (MLL). The Fire made their Toyota Park debut on June 11, 2006, against the New England Revolution.