Venue of the Year: LIVESTRONG Soccer Stadium in Kansas City
Pro Soccer News: Does San Diego Need a Professional Soccer Stadium?
Other major cities in the United States pride themselves on state-of-the-art soccer stadiums. What about America's Finest City? Why doesn't San Diego have a state of the art stadium?
Soccer has fascinated fans and newcomers to the sport alike with recent nail biting games, like Manchester City winning their first English Premier League title in 44 years over Manchester United which was watched b y millions of Americans. While most of us watched this game on television or the Internet, going to see soccer live provides the full experience of attending a sporting event and creates great memories.
The atmosphere at the stadium, and being surrounded by thousands of other soccer fans, is exciting and great for a guys’ night out or date night and even for affordable family fun. Far better than the action you can enjoy from the comfort of our couch, attending an MLS, NPSL, NASL or WPSL soccer match is great fun and a learning experience for those youth soccer players who love the beautiful game.
With that said, what is happening to get America's finest city a soccer stadium?
San Diego is very close to the border of Mexico, a soccer-passionate country, and is a top-rated market for watching soccer on two NPSL teams, one WPSL and the national PASL Champions call this city home, and hundreds of thousands of kids play youth soccer... yet there are no real "official" plans for a new stadium.
Other regions have built soccer-specific facilities and America is slowing beginning to compete with other stadiums around the globe.
Red Bull Arena stadium, home of the New York Red Bulls, opened in New Jersey in 2010 and offers fans in the front row the chance to be just 21 feet from the touchlines. LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City opened a year later in 2011 and is the home of Sporting Kansas City - Livestrong offers a variety of different experiences for fans from inexpensive family fun to high end gournet dining and is one of the most amazing stadiums in the world.
Some say the Red Bull Arena is the benchmark in North American soccer landscape and sets the standard for other soccer venues across the continent. Personally, after touring the LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, I can't imagine a better soccer venue built with more style or intelligence. LIVESTRONG Sporting Park is the first philanthropic stadium in the world and has revolutionized the way people engage in the fight against cancer by harnessing the passion and commitment of fans through the community of sports and entertainment.
Clearly I am not the only one who feels this way about LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Recently the facility was named Venue of the Year in the 2012 Stadium Business Awards as the world’s best stadium. The facility also received the Community Award for “a stadium, arena and major sports complex that has found new ways to support, enhance and improve its local community.”
And, of course, there is The Home Depot Center, home of the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA.
The question lingers, does San Diego need a professional soccer stadium? I would think the answer is yes. Many other agree.
With two NPSL soccer teams – the San Diego Flash and the San Diego Boca FC –one WPSL soccer team – the San Diego SeaLions as well as three time PASL National Champions the San Diego Sockers – and more competitive youth soccer clubs than some states in America, San Diego is absolutely a leading soccer city.
San Diego is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and the home of the Surf Cup, one of the top competitive youth soccer tournaments in the country. Competitive youth soccer teams and college coaches travel from all across America to San Diego for great soccer action. Surf Cup activities bring in an excess of $25 million to the local economy and there are numerous other soccer tournaments including Albion Cup, Pegasus Cup, Del Mar Sharks' Copa Del Mar as well as tournaments held by the Nomads, Carlsbad Lightning and other clubs which generate significant revenues.
Obviously soccer in San Diego works.
Asked about the need for a soccer-specific facility in the county, Steve Schell, Vice President of the San Diego Sports Commission said, “There has been several conversations in the past about building a soccer-specific stadium for San Diego, and at present these conversations are still ongoing. Adding a soccer stadium to our list of venues would enhance the ability of the San Diego Sports Commission to secure more soccer-related events for the destination.”
"San Diego needs a soccer-specific stadium for many reasons,” said Yan Skwara, owner of San Diego Boca. “Just like many other cities, having a stadium will be a major catalyst for driving MLS into San Diego. There are many solid options for a location for a soccer specific stadium, not to mention that communities and families will benefit great from the facility itself and the commerce the facility will generate will be eye opening."
“Of all the cities in the country, San Diego deserves a soccer stadium,” said Clent Alexander, CEO of San Diego Flash Soccer Club. “We live in a city with more than 1.3 million people and the fans would love to go to a real soccer stadium.”
"Teams in San Diego can't continue to play soccer in college and high school football and baseball facilities,” Skwara insisted.” San Diego deserves better. The sport has grown and developed in the U.S for a solid 50 years. Players and fans love soccer and the sport deserves a proper venue, period."
|SoccerNation Soccer News: San Diego Boca FC Rendering for San Diego Soccer Stadium
The questions are, will a soccer stadium ever be built in San Diego and will the fans come?
It seems strange for a city that ranked #1 in Nielsen ratings for television watching of the 2010 World Cup not to offer fans the ability to get off the couch to see a live game in a professional stadium without having to drive to LA. Especially a city that borders Mexico and fills a stadium with nearly 20,000 soccer fans for a recent game of Club Tijuana and Club America.
Does California's southernmost city need a magician to solve this quandary? What will it take to get San Diego fans a soccer stadium?