Not a bad way to watch some football.
It's not perfect, but it's really good. Because I'm a wholly negative person, let's start with the flaws:
The reserved seating, for which season tickets are $100, are the ones closest to the pitch. This is great for most other sports, but in soccer you want to sit a bit higher so you can see the formations and have a clearer view of the other side of the pitch. It's why Assistant Coach Fred Dikranian would sit next to us for the first half in the press box when I still worked soccer games at USF. The expensive seats should be up higher, even though the intimacy with the benches is a very cool feature.
If you buy a season ticket, you're not guaranteed a seat. I'm not kidding. I often get to games right before kickoff, but for my $50 season ticket, I still might have to sit or stand on the grass if the 1000 seats are full. And anyone that was there for Akron or a few other games last year knows that 1000 seats simply isn't enough for the crowds at big games. So then what's the point of buying a season ticket (beyond the awesome scarf) if you get the same seating privileges as someone that walks up to the window and buys a ticket? Also there's no shelter or cantilever roof, so you're going to get rained on or bake just like the old joint. The shelter is the biggest bonus of the new baseball facility, so let's hope we can retro-fit one for soccer someday.
But there's so much good. There was a near-monsoon before the match, and the pitch held up beautifully. The benches are in a true Euro style. And the berms behind either goal are just awesome. I know the naming rights for one have been secured (not sure if that's public yet so I won't share the name, but it's a very cool one), but we've got a couple of Anfield-style Kop's (before they were required to go all-seater) on campus. And they are just delightful. You do not want to be an opposing goalkeeper coming into this facility. Manute Bol could reach out and touch you if there wasn't a net protecting your back, and the USF Goalmouths are loud and proud. It is just an awesome atmosphere.
Being such a small venue, there truly isn't a bad seat in the house, and they're all comfortable. It's just a beauty, and what a boon for Coaches Kiefer and Schilte-Brown. They've gotten great crowds and have won before, but now they have the stadium to go with it. The limits are officially off for both programs. It may take some time, but all the tools are now in place to start thinking about College Cups down the road.
Video of the players walking past the students to get on the pitch before the match here. Notice the green and gold smoke bombs in the background. And apologies to Utah State for stealing what they stole previously. I've got pics as well, and will get them up with our season preview that should be later this week (or when I stop tearing my hair out with the job that pays the bills).
VIDEO0028.3gp (via usfcollin