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Official Review by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Alumni Stadium in Davidson, North Carolina was officially dedicated in 2004, and was used for men's and women's soccer beginning in 2005; the stadium and field are reserved solely for varsity soccer. The facility is named for alums who contributed to its construction, while the field itself is named after the famed 1992 Davidson soccer team, who had a program best 17 wins that year, and went on to host the College Cup.
Alumni Stadium was built on the site of the former soccer field at Davidson, and includes restrooms, concessions, and a grandstand that seats 2,000 fans. The field is sodded with Bermuda and rye, and has a sophisticated drainage system which helps keep the field usable even in wet conditions. Davidson's soccer teams currently compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
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Concessions are available at Alumni Stadium, but the selection is very limited, with only 6-8 items on the menu. Pizza is available for $5, but sells out quickly, so if you arrive late there may not be any left. Other food options include nachos for $3, or popcorn, peanuts, and packaged candy, all of which are $2. Drink options include bottled Coke products or bottled water for $3, and hot cocoa for $2. No alcohol is allowed inside the venue.
Alumni Field is a pretty standard college soccer facility, with lights, a digital scoreboard, plenty of school décor, and a grandstand topped by a small press box. Most of the bleachers are aluminum benches without chair backs, but there is a section of red bucket-style seats directly beneath the press box, which anyone can sit in, since all seats are general admission. While not huge, the scoreboard is on the south end of the field, and the numbers are very bright, so fans can easily keep track of the score and the number of shots on goal. The complex is mostly surrounded by trees, giving the stadium a rural feel.
There are school banners around the playing surface, in addition to a very large one behind the grandstand, and you will also see a wildcat paw print painted on the sidewalk at the main entrance, under the arch. You may also see some wildcat statues on your way in as you wend your way through campus, and the staff even hands out Wildcat-themed rally towels to fans as they enter.
There is not much in Davidson besides the college, so if you attend a soccer game here you may want to just come for the game. There are a couple of restaurants near Alumni Stadium, however, and your best bet for a bite to eat before or after the match is probably Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse, which is on the pricey side but does offer craft beer. Davidson Village Inn is the only hotel in the immediate vicinity, and is also on the pricey side; the other accommodations all tend to be on the west side of town, along I-77.
At a typical game, you may only see a few hundred fans show up, but they are very knowledgeable about the game, and many of them wear team gear - in fact, you will see a good number of them sporting promotional shirts in support of their Wildcats. Surprisingly there is not much towel-waving, though, even after the staff gives them away for free at the door. There is a good amount of cheering after big plays, however, and the kids in the stands always seem to have a lot of fun.
There is free parking right next to Alumni Stadium (on the north side), but the lot is very small, so even with very low attendance it tends to fill up. If you show up late, you probably won't be able to find a spot there, so you'll have to try and park elsewhere on campus, which is a bit of a hike. The soccer complex is surrounded by trees, so there aren't really any shortcuts to the field either, which means you'll have to follow the winding roads around campus to get there. If nothing else, you may be able to park in the much larger lot next to Richardson Stadium or John M. Belk Arena, to the south of the soccer field on Baker Drive.
Once you get inside Alumni Stadium, moving around is very simple. The concessions and bathrooms are right next to the main entrance, and there is plenty of room to maneuver. There is a ramp into the stands for those who need it, and there are cutouts along the front row for those with wheelchairs.
Tickets to games at Alumni Stadium are a little overpriced at $10 each, but parking is free and concessions are cheap, albeit sparse, so attending a game here may be worthwhile. Parking could be a hassle if you don't get here early, though, and there are other soccer venues in the area with cheaper gate prices, some of which have free admission, so if you just want to see a soccer game there may be other choices.
The free rally towels are a nice touch, and being able to sit in a real chair back seat is a lot better than sitting on a bench.
Alumni Stadium is a decent facility that won't be too crowded, so if you are in the mood for some soccer, just make sure you arrive early so you can get parking (and maybe some pizza).
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