One of the main reasons professional soccer has continued to thrive here in the United States has a great deal to do with the implementation of soccer specific stadiums, much like the one nearing completion in Chester, Pennsylvania, future home of the expansion Philadelphia Union.
What exactly is a soccer specific stadium? Well for starters most of these venues are located in the suburbs but usually not far from city limits and are generally small enough to entertain fans in an intimate setting with a seating capacity between 18,000-30,000.
Philadelphia’s soccer specific stadium is located a soft pretzel toss away from down town and nestled in the shadows of the Commodore Barry Bridge linking Chester to the New Jersey side of the Delaware River. When completed, Union Field should have a seating capacity around 18,500. By comparison, The Home Depot Center in Carson, California the largest stadium in Major League Soccer (MLS) and home to the L.A. Galaxy and CD Chivas USA, seats 27,000.
The stadium will be constructed with brick and natural stone, giving it a traditional Philadelphia feel.
Under-construction off-ramps leading passengers off the Commodore Barry Bridge to stadium parking lots
In addition to the 18,500 seats for soccer the stadium will also convert to seat 26,000 for concerts which will go hand in hand with a built-in concert stage. The blue prints also call for 30 Luxury Suites and an 11,000 square foot, full service club restaurant.
This rendering clearly shows that sight lines will be sensational with full view of the natural grass field. With the exception of the south end stands, 60 percent of spectators will also have a great view of the river.
Giving credence to the old, “If you build it and they will come" philosophy, the team has already sold over nine thousand season tickets. Not bad for a stadium still three months from completion. As a matter of fact due to a slight delay in construction, Union Field at Chester won’t be finished in time for the team’s first home match April 10th against D.C. United.
Instead, the club will play their inaugural game about 15 miles away at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
No exact date on when Union Field will be completed, but team officials are confident most of this years home games will be played in Chester.
For more information on the Union and their stadium, check out www.philadelphiaunion.com