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FC Edmonton Announce Clarke Field as Their 2012 Venue

2012 March 30
by Brian Quarstad

FC Edmonton held a press conference Thursday to announce their home venue for 2012 while also showing off their new Adidas custom kits for 2012.

As had been speculated for some time now, FC Edmonton will make 800-seat Clarke Field their home venue for the next two years. Team owner Tom Fath will foot a bill of about $750 thousand to install approximately 3,000 new seats, almost 1,700 of which will be chair-back, reserve seats. There will also be new bench seating for general admission customers in addition to the existing structure that will form the west grandstand. The Edmonton Journal is reporting that the deal with City of Edmonton still hasn’t been official signed yet.

Last season the team played at Foote Field which had 4 different sporting lines cut or painted onto the old-style fill turf that was hard and fast with a field that was extremely narrow.

Clarke Field sits in the shadows of Common Wealth Stadium, home of the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos and is adjacent to the Edmonton Light Rail system. The surface is artificial but has a newer type turf and the team will go from one of the narrowest fields in the NASL to one of the widest with the dimensions allowing the team to mark off a 76-yard wide pitch.

“We actually started working on this during the season last year when it became obvious that we needed a wider field,” said FC Edmonton general manager Tom Leip. “Once you come to that conclusion, it really narrows down very quickly where you’re going to go.

“Fortunately, for us, it’s not like there was another tenant over there. It was just strictly a matter of working out the logistics of how to make it work.”

“What is most gratifying is that all of this has been accomplished while displacing almost no present users of the facility,” said Leip. “The amateur soccer and football organizations that are presently using Clarke will be able to continue with almost no consideration being made for the time FC Edmonton requires.”

Liep stated the work on the field is expected to begin April 10th. “The reason we want them to be temporary is that we believe that in a couple of years we could be moving into a permanent facility and we think that these seats could be useful. The real purpose for the city is going to be a stadium that could be expandable.”

The 11.ca is reporting that there will be a beer garden on the south side of the stadium with a children’s play area at the north end.

The Eddies home opener is April 22nd when they will host the Minnesota Stars FC.

 

7 Responses
  1. Strikers Return permalink
    March 30, 2012

    Hopefully the change in venue and set up will help attract more fans for the Eddies this year. Good luck up there!

  2. Edward permalink
    March 30, 2012

    First, what’s with that GA section to the SE? The placement strikes me as odd, given the angle and the distance from the pitch. Also, aren’t all D2 stadiums supposed to be 5k with controlled entrance/exits?

  3. March 30, 2012

    Edward, that area is close to the beer gardens. *coughs* A little bird told me that supporters like beer, and yelling things that mom and dads with kids might want to sit away from.

  4. B.Lindsay permalink
    March 30, 2012

    Clarke is used for lower level Canadian Football a lot. Remember that Canadian Football is played on a bigger field then the American game, and with much deeper endzones.

    The “Soccer Tent” appears like it will be set up in the southern endzone on game day, then removed for pointy-ball games. The SE grandstand is probably on the edge of the deep endzone (which can be clipped at an angle in Canadian rules, normally to allow the field to fit inside a running track).

  5. March 31, 2012

    Edward, while you are correct, (http://www.insidemnsoccer.com/2010/08/12/ussf-d-2-professional-league-standards/) the NASL and USSF will always make exceptions for temporary solutions. There are many cities where there are just not a lot of options fitting into that 5,000 range without going into much larger venues which don’t make any sense from a marketing or financial standpoint. US Soccer isn’t going to say you can’t have a team because you don’t fit into the requirements, as long as that team isn’t satisfied playing in that stadium and wants a long term solution that will meet those D2 standards.

  6. Jim (aka MLSinSTL) permalink
    April 2, 2012

    If I remember correctly, wasn’t the capacity at Foote Field also lower than the required 5K? I thought it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5k for capacity.

    Maybe, this is in fact a step up for the club and is just a continuance of a waiver they already had? Just a guess here folks so don’t kill me for it if I’m wrong.

  7. J Edmonton permalink
    April 3, 2012

    Some things I can add:

    – The SE stands will sit on the site formerly used for shot-put warm-ups at the 2001 IAAF world championships. This is visible in the Google Maps link. There isn’t much demand for shot putting in Edmonton, but that area in turn dictated the shape of the existing parking lot, thus this positioning gives the dimensions needed for the bleacher.

    – As pointed out in the article, FCE does wish to reuse the bleachers once a permanent field comes available, but really no other suitable site in Edmonton contains the existing (800) seat permanent stand that Clarke does. Thus purchasing “extra” bleachers now when the prices are low and fitting them awkwardly for the time being, but then being able to balance them without the “permanent” stands of Clarke getting in the way is the rationale.

    – Foote Field’s CFL sized field indeed does have a capacity of 3500, so this one with 4000 is a modest increase, although once again strictly temporary. I have heard the next goal once they move to a permanent site is 5,000 or 6,000, designed of course to be expandable.

    – An additional but significant advantage not visible in Google Maps: The City and The Eskimos CFL team have just opened a beautiful public recreation facillity right in between Commonwealth and Clarke Stadiums, featuring an indoor half-length, but full width fieldhouse which the Eskimos use for practice. It features top quality Fieldturf and a punting-height roof, and a really super ambiance. I believe the negotiations with the City are waiting only for an agreement on FCE being able to use it for at least off-season training, and this is the portion of the contract not already finalised. Until now, FCE have been using a hockey-arena sized indoor soccer centre nicknamed “Carpetland” for their off-season work. (Thus the agreement with the city over the bleacher placement is not the hold-up, on which the article here is not clear.)

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