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Soccer-specific stadium

PPL Park, 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 an 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]

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]

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.


  • History 1
  • Major League Soccer (MLS) 2
    • Current MLS soccer-specific stadiums 2.1
    • Future MLS soccer-specific stadiums 2.2
    • Proposed MLS soccer-specific stadiums 2.3
  • North American Soccer League (NASL) 3
    • Current NASL soccer-specific stadiums 3.1
    • Proposed NASL soccer-specific stadiums 3.2
  • United Soccer League (USL) 4
    • Current USL soccer-specific stadiums 4.1
  • Premier Development League (PDL) 5
    • Current PDL soccer-specific stadiums 5.1
  • Other soccer-specific stadiums 6
    • Past soccer-specific stadiums 6.1
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9


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 is BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, home of Toronto FC; that stadium is slated to be renovated to accommodate Canadian football after the 2015 season.[8]

Major League Soccer (MLS)

Current MLS soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity Opened
Avaya Stadium San Jose Earthquakes San Jose, CA 18,000 2015
BBVA Compass Stadium Houston Dynamo[n 1] Houston, TX 22,039 2012
BMO Field Toronto FC Toronto, ON 30,991 2007
Dick's Sporting Goods Park Colorado Rapids Commerce City, CO 19,680 2007
Mapfre Stadium Columbus Crew SC Columbus, OH 20,145 1999
PPL Park Philadelphia Union Chester, PA 18,500 2010
Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls Harrison, NJ 25,189 2010
Rio Tinto Stadium[n 2] Real Salt Lake Sandy, UT 20,008 2008
Providence Park Portland Timbers Portland, OR 21,144 1926
Saputo Stadium Montreal Impact Montreal, QC 20,801 2008
Sporting Park Sporting Kansas City Kansas City, KS 18,467 2011
StubHub Center LA Galaxy[n 3] Carson, CA 27,000 2003
Toyota Park Chicago Fire[n 4] Bridgeview, IL 20,000 2006
Toyota Stadium FC Dallas Frisco, TX 20,500 2005

Future MLS soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity Construction
Orlando City Stadium Orlando City SC Orlando, FL 25,500[9] 2014 2016

Proposed MLS soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) Metro area Proposed capacity
D.C. United Stadium D.C. United Washington, D.C. 24,000
Miami MLS stadium Miami MLS team Miami, FL 20,000
New York City FC Stadium New York City FC New York, NY TBD
TBD Los Angeles Football Club Los Angeles, CA 22,000-25,000
TBD Minnesota United FC Minneapolis–Saint Paul, MN 20,000

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.[10]

North American Soccer League (NASL)

Current NASL soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity Opened
Atlanta Silverbacks Park Atlanta Silverbacks GA 5,000 2006
NSC Stadium Minnesota United FC Blaine, MN 8,500 1990 (2008 renovation)
Toyota Field San Antonio Scorpions San Antonio, TX 8,000 2013
WakeMed Soccer Park Carolina RailHawks Cary, NC 10,000 2002

Proposed NASL soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity
New York Cosmos Stadium New York Cosmos Elmont, NY 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, SC 5,100 1999
Ramblewood Soccer Complex Charlotte Independence Charlotte, NC 4,300 2015
Sand Creek Stadium Colorado Springs Switchbacks Colorado Springs, CO 3,500 2002 (Renovated 2015)
Skyline Sports Complex Harrisburg City Islanders Harrisburg, PA 5,000 1987 (Renovated 2008)
StubHub Center LA Galaxy II Carson, CA 27,000 2003
Saputo Stadium FC Montreal Montreal, QE 20,521 2008
Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls II Harrison, NJ 25,000 2010
Highmark Stadium Pittsburgh Riverhounds Pittsburgh, PA 3,500 2013
Merlo Field Portland Timbers 2 University Park, OR 4,892 1990
Rio Tinto Stadium Real Monarchs Sandy, UT 20,213 2008
Sahlen's Stadium Rochester Rhinos Rochester, NY 13,768 2006
St. Louis Soccer Park St. Louis FC Fenton, MO 6,200 1982
Bonney Field Sacramento Republic FC Sacramento, CA 11,242 2014
Starfire Sports Complex Seattle Sounders 2 Tukwila, WA 4,500 2005
Ontario Soccer Centre Toronto FC II Vaughan, ON 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, NY 1,845 1970s
Lusitano Stadium Western Mass Pioneers PDL Ludlow, MA 3,000 1918
Macpherson Stadium Carolina Dynamo PDL Browns Summit, NC 1,600 2002

Other soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Team(s) Division City Capacity Opened
Albert-Daly Field William & Mary Tribe NCAA Williamsburg, VA 1,000 2004
Belson Stadium St. John's Red Storm NCAA Queens, NY 2,600 2001
University of Denver Soccer Stadium Denver Pioneers NCAA Denver, CO 2,000 2009
Columbia Soccer Stadium Columbia Lions NCAA New York City, NY 3,500 1985
Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA Falcon Heights, Minnesota, MN 1,000 1999
Ellis Field Texas A&M Aggies NCAA College Station, TX 3,500 1994
Fifth Third Bank Stadium Kennesaw State Owls NCAA GA 8,300 2010
Hermann Stadium Saint Louis Billikens NCAA St. Louis, MO 6,050 1999
Hofstra University Soccer Stadium Hofstra Pride NCAA Hempstead, NY 1,600 2003
King George V Park National Stadium
Memorial Sea-Hawks
St. John's, NL 10,000 1925
Kiwanis Municipal Park Stadium   Williamsburg, VA
Maryland SoccerPlex Washington Spirit NWSL Germantown, MD[n 5] 5,128 2000
Mean Green Village North Texas Mean Green NCAA Denton, TX 1,000 2006
Metropolitan Oval Queens, NY 1,500 1925; 2001 renovation
Mike Rose Soccer Complex Memphis Tigers
Memphis, TN 2,500 2001
Morrison Stadium Creighton Bluejays
Omaha, NE 6,000 2003
Old Dominion Soccer Complex Old Dominion Monarchs and Lady Monarchs NCAA Norfolk, VA 4,000 1990
Orange Beach Sportsplex Local teams Local Orange Beach, AL 1,500 2001
St. Louis Soccer Park   Fenton, MO 6,000 1982
Starfire Sports Seattle Reign FC
Seattle Sounders Women
Tukwila, WA 4,500 2002
UNCG Soccer Stadium University of North Carolina at Greensboro NCAA Greensboro, NC 3,540 1990
Uihlein Soccer Park MSOE Raiders
Milwaukee, WI 7,000 1994
Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex Marshall Thundering Herd NCAA Huntington, WV 1,006 2013
Virginia Beach Sportsplex Virginia Beach, VA 10,500 1999
Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium Hawaiʻi Rainbow Wahine
Waipiʻo, HI 4,500 2000
WRAL Soccer Center CASL teams CASL Raleigh, NC 3,200 1990s
Yurcak Field Rutgers Scarlet Knights NCAA Piscataway, NJ 5,000 1994
Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium Louisville Cardinals NCAA Louisville, KY 5,300 2014

Past soccer-specific stadiums

Stadium Club(s) City Capacity Opened Years used Status
Mark's Stadium Fall River Marksmen
Fall River F.C.
North Tiverton, Rhode Island 15,000 1922

See also


  1. ^ Also used by the Houston Dash of the NWSL.
  2. ^ Also used by the Real Monarchs SLC of the USL.
  3. ^ Was also used by the Los Angeles Sol of Women's Professional Soccer in that team's only season in 2009.
  4. ^ Also used by the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL.
  5. ^ 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  
  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".  
  5. ^ "M.L.S. Continues to Bolster Growing Brand With New Stadium in Houston".  
  6. ^ a b Arace, Michael (September 10, 2013). "Michael Arace commentary: Aging Crew Stadium still has a big advantage".  
  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. ^ Tenorio, Paul (July 31, 2015). "Orlando City unveils plans for new $155 million, 25,500-seat soccer stadium". The Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 1, 2015. 
  10. ^ Weber, Mark (May 14, 2012). "Fenway Park and the Waterfront Stadium". The Vancouver Province. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
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