Illinois Soccer & Track Stadium
Originally built in 1987 at a cost of $2.2 million, by Daily and Associates, Engineers, Inc., of Champaign, the Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium served as home solely to the men’s and women’s track and field programs for its first 11 years. In October of 1998, with the addition of women’s soccer in 1996, a $1.2 million renovation (Phase I), overseen by JJR Architects of Chicago, installed lighting for the entire stadium, built a separate throwing area for field events and adapted the grass field inside the track to facilitate soccer. The field, comprised of Kentucky Bluegrass with a sand base for quick drainage, is noted for its playing surface and built-in irrigation.
Phase II (currently in planning) includes increasing seating to 8,000 seats split with 6,000 seats on the eastside and 2,000 seats on the westside, a permanent press box, locker rooms, rest rooms and a concession stand.
The first event held at the stadium was the April 18, 1987 Illinois Invitational track meet. The facility was built as a replacement to the longtime home for Fighting Illini track and field, Memorial Stadium, which replaced Illinois Field in 1923. Other track events hosted include the 1990 and 1997 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
The first soccer game at the newly renovated Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium took place August 27, 1999, a 3-1 win over Marquette. Emily Brown scored the first Illinois goal on an assist from Sarah Rowland.
The recently upgraded facility was the site of the 2000 Big Ten Conference Women’s Soccer Tournament. The Illini also hosted the Xavier Musketeers in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament in 2000. In 2001, the Illini welcomed Evansville, Syracuse and eventual National Champion Santa Clara in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament and in 2003, the Illini hosted Western Michigan, Purdue and DePaul in first and second round tournament action.
In 2004, the Illini completed their first undefeated season at home with a record of 8-0-1. In the final match at Illinois Soccer Stadium, the Illini posted a thrilling 2-1 victory over Nebraska in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, sending the Orange and Blue on to the Elite Eight. The Illini drew a record 1,046 fans for the Sweet 16 match.
The Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium is located just steps away from the Bielfeldt Athletic Administration Building, where the track and soccer programs coaches offices are housed.
Prior to moving into the Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium the Fighting Illini played their first two seasons at the First and Stadium Multiplex.
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