Today NYCFC officially announced their first season in MLS will be played at Yankee Stadium on a 110 x 70 yard field. This will be the smallest field in MLS. Amongst Minnesota soccer supporters there have been some concerns that the field in the new Vikings Stadium will be too small for quality soccer to be played. Jeff Anderson, Executive Director of Communications for the Vikings, says that the new stadium soccer field size will be 121 x 72 yards which is “typical for MLS facilities.” Is he right?
Wikipedia has a great list of all the current field dimensions for MLS stadiums. It shows that field lengths are between 110-120 yards with an average length of 117. Field widths are between 70-80 yards with an average width of 75. This makes the average MLS field size 117 x 75 yards. The 72 yard width available in the new Vikings stadium would be on the smaller side but still bigger than Houston (and NYCFC when they start play.) Keeping in proportion to the average MLS field size, the new stadium size would be about 115 x 72 yards, just slightly smaller than the league average. Who else has a field size of 115 x 72 yards? Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League.
The main question is how much space is there between the side of the field and the advertising boards. Going down to 70 yards width would add an extra 3 feet to both sides. But is a 70 yard field too small for MLS? “For me, that’s a comfortable width,” said NYCFC coach Jason Kreis.
“When we go to some of the old field setups at Houston, or Portland a couple of years ago, or San Jose before that, where you are talking about 66 yards wide, then I see an influence on the game. At 70 yards wide, that is a minimum for me where I think this is wide enough” Kreis said.
What are the other local field sizes for soccer? Derek Hillestad, Director of Operations at TCF Bank Stadium, said TCF Bank field is set up to accommodate 120 yards by 70 yards. This is two yards less wide than the new Vikings Stadium but still MLS friendly. The National Sports Center Stadium in Blaine, home to Minnesota United FC, has a playing field of 118 x 75 yards.
A lot has happened since Jeff Anderson of the Vikings last updated MLS4MN on the Vikings plans for a Minneapolis MLS team on 12/17/13:
“We remain interested in pursuing an MLS franchise to play in the new stadium, and the team is continuing its on-going dialogue with the leadership of MLS. Nothing more to report at this point.”
Here’s a quick recap of the news over the past four months.
Then on 12/30/13 it was reported that talks were heating up between the Vikings and MLS:
In early February a rumor of a major international soccer match was coming to Minneapolis this summer that “definitely isn’t” at TCF Bank Stadium.
A week later it was announced that Manchester City from England’s Premier League and Olympiakos from Superleague Greece will play on Aug. 2 at 2 p.m., at TCF Bank Stadium on August 2nd.
On 2/11/14 Michele Kelm-Helgen, the chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority which is overseeing construction of the $1 billion Vikings stadium, said “there’s discussions going on with the MLS about getting an MLS franchise here but nothing that’s finalized.”
Then on 3/4/14 Minneapolis was publically placed on the short list for MLS expansion by Commissioner Garber. The big news coming from this was Garber mentions Minnesota United for the first time in the expansion race.
And today, Arthur Blank and the Atlanta Falcons are in “the very final stages” of an expansion agreement with MLS with Minneapolis being considered the frontrunner for the final spot.
Last but certainly not least on April 27th Minnesota United FC plays the home opener of the NASL Spring Season against FC Edmonton at the National Sports Center in Blaine. If you don’t have your season tickets yet now would be a great time to invest in soccer in Minneapolis.