PHOENIX — Soccer fans in Arizona officially have a new venue to call their own.
Grand Canyon University opened its new soccer stadium in front of over 6,400 people last Friday night, the largest crowd ever to see an NCAA soccer game in Arizona. The Antelopes didn’t disappoint the record crowd at GCU Stadium, fighting their way to 4-2 victory over Central Florida.
“This is a big day,” said GCU President Brian Mueller. “Grand Canyon University’s brand is getting to be about bringing people together as a community, and soccer is going to be one of those components that does exactly that.”
GCU is the only NCAA Division I men’s soccer program in Arizona. Its new stadium features 3,000 chair-back seats on the west side of the field, with ten-foot grass berms surrounding the other three sides of field. A large platform area is also located on the stadium’s east side.
Amidst a sea of purple, the grand opening of GCU Stadium featured live music, tailgating, food, fireworks and an autograph session after the game. Lopes head coach and former Major League Soccer coach of the year Schellas Hydman, said it was a night he won’t soon forget.
“I’ve coached many games in my career, but tonight was special,” he said. “It was a huge night for GCU soccer and Grand Canyon University because there was so much expectation and so much hype. I’m so happy, and we’re ready to find ways to get better.”
The next home game for the GCU men is slated for Sept. 15 vs. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The Lopes women face off against Northern Arizona at GCU Stadium on Friday. Tickets for both games are available by calling the box office at 602-639-8979 or by visiting their website.
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