Soccer stadium could be reality by 2020

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Heidelberg/Davis Park, located along South 19th Street adjacent to the Metro Parks administration building, is home to baseball and softball fields used by local high schools and various recreational leagues. It is being considered as a site for future soccer stadium. The team known as Sounders FC2, or S2, is the minor league affiliate of the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer. It had played its home games at the Starfire Sports complex in Tukwila until 2018, when it relocated to Cheney Stadium, home of the Tacoma Rainiers minor league baseball team. It competes as a member of United Soccer League.

Joe Brady, chief strategist officer for Metro Parks, shared plans for a new soccer stadium during a joint meeting of the Metro Parks Board and Tacoma City Council on Nov. 13. It would accommodate between 5,000 and 5,500 fans per game, from a grass berm to luxury suites. Soccer-specific stadiums are the norm in the USL. Brady said seven other stadiums in the league are being studied as part of the planning process. The project could include retail establishments that would attract fans on game days as well as non-game days. The stadium could be finished in time for the 2020 season.

Populous, a Kansas City-based firm with much experience in stadium projects, has been chosen for this project. Metro Parks has been conducting market research based on 22,000 surveys. It covers attendance, ticket pricing and other factors. It also shows a need for more fields for youth soccer. “We have a lot of kids playing soccer and it increases every day,” Brady observed.

A soccer stadium at this location would eliminate some of the fields used for baseball. Brady said the Rainiers are willing to make their facility available for high school teams that would be displaced by the project.

Metro Parks is also studying a future complex for recreational soccer. Three sites are under consideration ­– the Tacoma Landfill, Mount Tahoma High School and Tacoma Community College.

Councilmember Conor McCarthy noted the current Heidelberg complex it quite popular with the public. “There is a lot of strong, emotional connections,” he remarked.

Assistant City Attorney Steve Victor noted there is currently no money in the city budget for the project.

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