A new Riverhounds stadium was something of folklore since the Hounds re-joined USL-PRO in 2008. There were always rumblings that the club was going to make a move and build a stadium somewhere in or near the city.
Seeing Highmark Stadium go up slowly since last year has been a thrilling sight to see as die-hard Riverhounds fans. Some of the Steel Army was lucky enough to be on-site as the Hounds opened their gates and allowed fans to catch a glimpse of the pitch up-close-and-personal.
One of the most striking features of the new stadium is the view of the stadium, which is unparalleled in any other sports venue in the city of Pittsburgh. The north end of the stadium is completely open to the Monongahela River and features a stunning view of the Pittsburgh city skyline.
The grass is a hybrid of natural grass and synthetic turf that is a huge upgrade from the playing surface at Chartiers Valley High School. Jason has assured us that any permanent lines that are painted into the pitch will be for soccer and soccer alone. People were concerned that with the Pittsburgh Passion and other local teams playing games at the stadium, spray-painted lines would be clearly visible in the turn. Kutney explained that the turf will be scrubbed weekly to ensure these temporary lines do not taint the playing surface.
Kutney is making a smart move by having the word “HOUNDS” spelled out in the south end of the stadium flanking Mount Washington. There are still people in the city that do not know that this stadium is a soccer-specific venue. The more people that drive by the stadium in the city and see this, the better.
The Hounds’ made a huge move partnering with the Pittsburgh Penguins this winter. The annual “Penguins Pond” will be set up directly on the turf at Highmark Stadium. The Pond draws out a ton of people in the Pittsburgh area, and there is probably not a better way for the Hounds to advertise for the inaugural season at Highmark.
Most importantly, the supporters’ section will be at the east end of the stadium, facing the Fort Pitt Bridge. This section will seat approximately 400 fans, and we fully intend to fill this section. The proximity of these seats to the field is unreal. We are literally 10 feet behind the goal. Several people noticed how low the fence was, which could make things interesting on game-day. The game-changer is a beer stand which will be placed directly next to the section.
An interesting addition to the stadium is a small “kick around” area behind the supporters’ section on the east end. Whether or not this will be used as a “time out” area is yet to be seen. But kudos to Kutney for realizing that with a ton of young kids coming out to matches, it would be good to have a place for them run around. The area is covered with the same turn as the pitch.
We cannot express how pumped we are for this stadium. The most important thing we need to do as fans is fill it. More money means more financial flexibility for the team and a more quality team on the pitch. If you haven’t done so already, use the following link to go the Riverhounds website to pre-order your 2013 season tickets:
2013 Steel Army Season Tickets