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Official Review by Jackson Wang, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Opened in September 2013, Bob Ford Field is the home venue for many sports teams at the University of Albany. The stadium is named after long time UAlbany football coach Bob Ford, who began his tenure with the Great Danes in 1973, before stepping down in 2013.
The venue is primarily a football stadium, but it is also used for men’s and women’s soccer games. Built at the cost of $12 million dollars, the stadium has a capacity of 8,500 with FieldTurf surface and a large monitor at the south end zone.
The small setting allows fans to be close to the action, while also enjoying the feel of a division one school.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food and beverage for a men's soccer game is a little different compared to a football game. There's only one concession stand open for the whole stadium, which has limited options and no alcohol available.
The prices are pretty fair with hot dogs, popcorn, and hot pretzels ($3 each), $6 wrap, and $3 for bottled water or 20oz. fountain soda. Most of the food has typical sporting event-like taste, which is good.
Since there is a small attendance, the lines are short and customers are served quickly.
The stadium is set near the south entrance of the campus, close to Western Avenue. Next to Bob Ford Field is SEFCU Arena, lacrosse field, and baseball field. There are two entrances to the stadium, one toward SEFCU Arena and the other on the south side, each with its own box office.
The home side of the stadium has two levels, most of it is bleacher-style seating, while the lower tier, near the middle, has chair back seats. There is also a small set of bleachers on the away side. And if you enjoy sitting on the grass, there is a small hill to sit on in the north end zone.
For soccer games, only the home lower section is open for fans. But anywhere you sit will give you a great view of the soccer game. Plus, the bathrooms and the concessions are only a short walk away, so you won't miss too much game action when you have to leave your seat.
There are no games or family fun events before the game. The only fan interaction is a halftime soccer challenge.
Since everything is still new at Bob Ford Field; there's a very clean atmosphere. The teams enter and exit on a ramp on the north end zone. There is a digital scoreboard monitor on the south end zone and a powerful sound system so fans definitely get the feeling that this stadium is at a division one school.
The stadium has a lot of offer, and for a soccer game, Bob Ford Field is an awesome venue for it. Hopefully fans and players appreciate it.
Just outside the Western Avenue entrance to UAlbany there are a few bars and restaurants within walking distance. If you hop in a car, Crossgates Mall is just five minutes away, and has even more restaurants and shopping. If you're looking to enjoy the nightlife of Albany, Lark Street and downtown is just a short ten minute drive away.
Very few fans were in attendance on a Tuesday night for a non-league UAlbany men's soccer game during my most recent visit. Just a few dozen fans were on hand, most of which were students and about a handful of families.
Fans didn't really get into the game much, most were quiet and didn't cheer a lot. The loudest people at the game, besides the five drunk college kids toward the north end zone, were the players and coaches on the field.
And for the students that were there, many were either texting on their phone or talking to their friends at the game.
For most students on campus, it's a short walk. For those living downtown, it's a short bus ride on the CDTA. Lines 10, 11, or 12 will bring you to the UAlbany campus.
Parking is pretty easy. There are some spots next to the stadium and at SEFCU Arena. If you walk about ten minutes north, there are dozens of spots for parking. And the sidewalks and parking lots have lights, so it feels safe at night.
Tickets to a UAlbany men's soccer game ranges from $2 to $7 depending on where you sit. Since there are typically small crowds, seat assignment is not strictly regulated.
So if you were to go, just buy the cheapest ticket and there's a very good chance you could sit at midfield with a perfect view of the game.
Food and drink prices are fair, and parking in free. So if you're looking for something to do on a weeknight with friends or family, for just five dollars you can see the UAlbany men's soccer in action and get a hot dog.
There are not a lot of extras when you see a soccer game at Bob Ford Field. It's a lovely facility, but the overall experience falls rather flat without the fan support.
Bob Ford Field is the best soccer stadium in the Albany area. So if you're ever in the Capital Region, it's worth catching a football or soccer game at Bob Ford Field.
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