Soccer-specific stadium

Talen Energy Stadium, home of the Philadelphia Union, 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 multipurpose 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 Toyota Park, 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 (64–73 m) wide.[2] These soccer field dimensions are wider than the regulation American football field width of 53 13 yards (48.8 m), or the 65-yard (59 m) width of a Canadian football field. The playing surface should also consist of grass as opposed to artificial turf, since the latter makes players more susceptible to injuries.[3] However, Portland's Providence Park has artificial turf.

Lastly, the seating capacity is generally small enough to provide an intimate setting, between 18,000 and 30,000 for a Major League Soccer franchise,[4] or smaller for minor league soccer teams. This is in comparison to the much larger American football stadiums that mostly range between 60,000 – 80,000 in which the original North American Soccer League teams played at and most MLS teams participated in during the league's inception.[5]


In the 1980s and 1990s, Division I 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, undersized in terms of width of the soccer pitch, and 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 in which to place the pitch, these parks were generally in-use during the summer season, when North American–based soccer leagues, such as Major League Soccer, also hold their seasons.

Soccer-specific stadiums first came into use in the 1990s, after the multi-purpose stadium era.[6][7]

The term "soccer-specific stadium" was coined by Lamar Hunt, who financed the construction of the Columbus Crew Stadium, the first soccer specific stadium used in Major League Soccer.[6] 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 is slated to be renovated to accommodate Canadian football for the 2016 season.[8]

Major League Soccer (MLS)

Current MLS soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity Opened
Avaya Stadium San Jose Earthquakes San Jose, California 18,000 2015
BBVA Compass Stadium Houston Dynamo[n 1] Houston, Texas 22,039 2012
Children's Mercy Park Sporting Kansas City Kansas City, Kansas 18,467 2011
Dick's Sporting Goods Park Colorado Rapids Commerce City, Colorado 19,680 2007
Mapfre Stadium Columbus Crew SC Columbus, Ohio 20,145 1999
Orlando City Stadium Orlando City SC[n 2] Orlando, Florida 25,500 2017
Providence Park Portland Timbers Portland, Oregon 21,144 1926
Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls Harrison, New Jersey 25,189 2010
Rio Tinto Stadium Real Salt Lake[n 3] Sandy, Utah 20,008 2008
Saputo Stadium Montreal Impact Montreal, Quebec 20,801 2008
StubHub Center LA Galaxy[n 4] Carson, California 27,000 2003
Talen Energy Stadium Philadelphia Union Chester, Pennsylvania 18,500 2010
Toyota Park Chicago Fire[n 5] Bridgeview, Illinois 20,000 2006
Toyota Stadium FC Dallas Frisco, Texas 20,500 2005

Future MLS soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity Construction
D.C. United Stadium D.C. United Washington, D.C. 20,000 2016 2018
Banc of California Stadium Los Angeles FC Los Angeles, California 22,000 2016 2018
Minnesota United FC Stadium Minnesota United FC Saint Paul, Minnesota 20,000 2016 2018

Proposed MLS soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) Metro area Proposed capacity
Miami MLS stadium Miami MLS team Miami, Florida 25,000

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.[9]

North American Soccer League (NASL)

Current NASL soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity Opened
WakeMed Soccer Park Carolina RailHawks Cary, North Carolina 10,000 2002
Clarke Stadium FC Edmonton Edmonton, Alberta 5,000 1938
Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium Puerto Rico FC Bayamón, Puerto Rico 22,000 1974 (2012 renovation)

Proposed NASL soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity
New York Cosmos Stadium New York Cosmos Elmont, New York 25,000

United Soccer League (USL)

Current USL soccer-specific stadiums

All USL 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
MUSC Health Stadium Charleston Battery Charleston, South Carolina 5,100 1999
Ramblewood Soccer Complex Charlotte Independence Charlotte, North Carolina 4,300 2015
Switchbacks Stadium Colorado Springs Switchbacks Colorado Springs, Colorado 3,500 2002 (Renovated 2015)
StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium LA Galaxy II Carson, California 2,000 2003
Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard FC Montreal Montreal, Quebec 3,500 1976
MSU Soccer Park at Pittser Field New York Red Bulls II Montclair, New Jersey 3,000 1998 (Renovated 2016)
Orlando City Stadium Orlando City B Orlando, Florida 25,500 2017
Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex Phoenix Rising FC Scottsdale, Arizona 5,000 2017
Highmark Stadium Pittsburgh Riverhounds Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 3,500 2013
Merlo Field Portland Timbers 2 University Park, Oregon 4,892 1990
Rio Tinto Stadium Real Monarchs Sandy, Utah 20,213 2008
H-E-B Park Rio Grande Valley FC Toros Edinburg, Texas 9,400 2015
Rochester Rhinos Stadium Rochester Rhinos Rochester, New York 13,768 2006
World Wide Technology Soccer Park Saint Louis FC Fenton, Missouri 6,200 1982
Bonney Field Sacramento Republic FC Sacramento, California 11,242 2014
Toyota Field San Antonio FC San Antonio, Texas 8,296 2013
Starfire Sports Complex Seattle Sounders 2 Tukwila, Washington 4,500 2005
Swope Soccer Village Swope Park Rangers Kansas City, Missouri 3,500 2007
Al Lang Stadium Tampa Bay Rowdies St. Petersburg, Florida 7,227 1947 (2015 renovation)
Ontario Soccer Centre Toronto FC II Vaughan, Ontario 3,500 2015

Premier Development League (PDL)

Current PDL soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) Division City Capacity Opened
City Park Stadium Westchester Flames PDL New Rochelle, New York 1,845 1970s
Lusitano Stadium Western Mass Pioneers PDL Ludlow, Massachusetts 3,000 1918
Macpherson Stadium Carolina Dynamo PDL Browns Summit, North Carolina 1,600 2002

NCAA (Division I)

Stadium Team(s) City Capacity Opened
Albert-Daly Field William & Mary Tribe Williamsburg, Virginia 1,000 2004
Belson Stadium St. John's Red Storm Queens, New York 2,600 2001
Ambrose Urbanic Field Pittsburgh Panthers Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 735 2011
Bill Armstrong Stadium Indiana Hoosiers Bloomington, Indiana 6,500 1981
Columbia Soccer Stadium Columbia Lions New York City, New York 3,500 1985
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
Hermann Stadium Saint Louis Billikens St. Louis, Missouri 6,050 1999
Hofstra University Soccer Stadium Hofstra Pride Hempstead, New York 1,600 2003
Mean Green Village North Texas Mean Green Denton, Texas 1,000 2006
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
Old Dominion Soccer Complex Old Dominion Monarchs and Lady Monarchs Norfolk, Virginia 4,000 1990
Harder Stadium UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Santa Barbara, California 17,000 1966
Riggs Field Clemson Tigers Clemson, South Carolina 6,500 1915
Eugene E. Stone III Stadium South Carolina Gamecocks Columbia, South Carolina 5,000 1981
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

Stadium Team(s) Division City Capacity Opened
Fifth Third Bank Stadium Kennesaw State Owls NCAA Kennesaw, Georgia 8,300 2010
King George V Park National Stadium
Memorial Sea-Hawks
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador 10,000 1925
Kiwanis Municipal Park Stadium Williamsburg, Virginia
Maryland SoccerPlex Washington Spirit NWSL Germantown, Maryland[n 6] 5,128 2000
Metropolitan Oval Queens, New York 1,500 1925 (2001 renovation)
Orange Beach Sportsplex Local teams Local Orange Beach, Alabama 1,500 2001
Starfire Sports Seattle Reign FC
Seattle Sounders Women
Tukwila, Washington 4,500 2002
Uihlein Soccer Park MSOE Raiders NCAA Milwaukee, Wisconsin 7,000 1994
Virginia Beach Sportsplex Virginia Beach, Virginia 10,500 1999
WRAL Soccer Center CASL teams CASL Raleigh, North Carolina 3,200 1990

Past soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity Opened Years used Status
Mark's Stadium Fall River F.C. North Tiverton, Rhode Island 15,000 1922
BMO Field Toronto FC Toronto, Ontario 30,991 2007 2007–present Changed into a multi-purpose stadium in 2016 after becoming the home of the CFL's Toronto Argonauts.

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 pitch.

See also


  1. Also used by the Houston Dash of the NWSL.
  2. Also used by the Orlando Pride of the NWSL and Orlando City B of the USL.
  3. Also used by the Real Monarchs SLC of the USL.
  4. Was also used by the Los Angeles Sol of Women's Professional Soccer in that team's only season in 2009.
  5. Also used by the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL.
  6. The stadium is located in Germantown, but has a Boyds postal address.


  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 August 1, 2015 via Google Books.
  2. "Laws of the Game 2010/2011" (PDF). FIFA. p. 7. Retrieved October 9, 2010. Although the official Laws of the Game allow for pitches in adult matches to be 100–130 yards (91–119 m) long by 50–100 yards (46–91 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 October 9, 2014.
  4. Andrews, Phil (December 31, 2005). "Philadelphia's Field of Dreams: MLS' Newest Home". Bleacher Report. Retrieved August 1, 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 August 1, 2015.
  6. 1 2 Arace, Michael (September 10, 2013). "Michael Arace commentary: Aging Crew Stadium still has a big advantage". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
  7. Granillo, Larry (September 14, 2009). "Football, Baseball, and the Era of the "Superstadium"". Wezen-Ball. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
  8. "BMO Field". The Stadium Guide. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
  9. Weber, Mark (May 14, 2012). "Fenway Park and the Waterfront Stadium". The Vancouver Province. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
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