National Sports Center Stadium
|Country||United States of America|
|Clubs||Minnesota United FC|
|Cost||$ 14.7 million (1990)|
|Record attendance||15,615 (USA-Canada, 2001)|
|Address||1700 105th Ave NE, Blaine, MN 55449, USA|
Description: NSC Stadium
If this stadium looks too modest for a National Sports Center, that may be a very correct impression. Because it’s not about the main stadium in this case, but about creating the most extensive football/soccer complex throughout the US, open to both amateur, youth and professional teams.
From 1987 to 1990 dozens of football fields were created here. Over 50 if including half-sized fields and 35 in full-size configuration. To show the scale – that’s enough fields to simultaneously host training sessions of all teams participating in the FIFA World Cup.
Spanning over 2.4 square kilometers, the complex was created with initial funding of $14.5 million by the state of Minnesota. To this day its publicly-owned and operated non-commercially, enjoying a stunning 3.8 million visitors per year! Aside from the football fields, you’ll find indoor halls, velodrome, lacrosse, baseball and other sports facilities here.
The main stadium itself wasn’t always soccer/football-specific. It was in fact an athletic stadium with running track. Nowadays the track doesn’t exist, while soccer field was moved closer to the only permanent grandstand in the west. East side is occupied by small temporary stands.
Current capacity of 8,500 is somewhat underestimated, because largest crowds here were far beyond that number, topping at twice-the-size turnout for USA-Canada women’s game in 2001.
Female national teams as well as youth selections use the complex regularly, but it’s football clubs that make up for most of the matchday calendar. First Minnesota Thunder, then Stars and eventually also United FC all played home games here.