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Official Review by Andy Mantsch, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Dail Soccer Stadium/Track Complex isn't new to the N.C. State campus scene, but as a soccer venue, it is. Opened in 1938, the Track Complex has been a staple of the central campus of N.C. State for almost 80 years. But in 2008, a new tenant moved in, as Wolfpack soccer adopted the complex as its home. In 2011, additional updates were completed, bringing it to what it is today. While not the most thrilling venue of the Wolfpack pantheon, there's enough character here to warrant a cheap night out.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There's nothing more than you'd expect for this level of venue available as food items. One concession stand greets you as you enter the gates, and it consists of the staples.
Hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and candy make up the menu selections here. All under $4, it's reasonable if not underwhelming.
Drink options are not much different. Soda, water and a lemonade stand make up your beverage selections. Again, you won't pay more than $4 for anything.
You might as well grab a couple $3 dogs and a lemonade and move on.
There's a surprising amount of support for the Wolfpack soccer team, particularly among the students. The small but inviting stadium has enough character to draw fans.
Surrounded by an iron fence that allows you to stand outside and watch the game, the stadium feels engrained in the campus experience. One of the cooler features involves student seating behind either goal. The track surrounding the field does put some distance between the field and the fans, but the stadium is small enough to not suffer too much for it. The scoreboard is behind the goal to the right of the stands, but won't show you anything more than the score and key stats.
Mr. Wulf walks the stands and sidelines high-fiving fans and razzing unsuspecting fans. The pep band even plays a part in revving up the crowd. At halftime, students move from one end of the field to the other to sit behind (and maybe harass a little) the opposing goalkeeper. All of this adds a little bit of extra character for a sport that doesn't always have it at the college venues.
Seating is all general admission, and the stadium is small enough that there's not a bad seat to be had.
Dail Soccer Stadium/Track Complex is located square in the middle of campus. The bustle of students moving from building to building occurs just beyond the iron fence. Being in the Raleigh area, there's obviously a lot to take in and do in the larger area. If you like college sports, the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area is likely heaven for you.
Being a college campus, food options are nearby and quirky enough for college kids. The Roast Grill will put anything on your hot dogs except the traditional items, Clyde Cooper's BBQ has been serving North Carolina barbeque since 1938, Beasley's Chicken & Honey is a must for southern-style chicken and waffles drizzled in honey and Big Ed's City Market will serve you pancakes the size of a car's hubcaps.
Aside from the myriad college athletics options, Raleigh is full of worthwhile tourist stops. The North Carolina Natural Sciences Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art are underrated cultural stops in the immediate area. The Carolina Hurricanes hockey team also shares the basketball arena with the Wolfpack's basketball team. Up the road in Durham, one the of most storied minor league teams (the Bulls) has a beautiful home in a revitalized area of town.
Hotels are abundant in the Tri-City area, as well. The Aloft Raleigh is just off campus and easy to access. Not much further away is the Doubletree - Raleigh. But overall, finding local hotels shouldn't be hard in such a large metro area.
Student support for Wolfpack soccer is surprisingly passionate for what is a sport that is at least fourth on the totem pole on campus.
While the stadium doesn't sell out, the student turnout is particularly impressive. The school ranked as high as 39th for attendance in 2012, but it feels more engaged than a lot of the schools higher on those lists.
The student stands behind the goals fill up and get loud and hostile (particularly directed at the opposing goalkeeper). The students really make the experience here.
The university is located just off of 440 inside the loop around Raleigh. While easy to access in terms of navigation, Raleigh traffic can be a bit difficult to navigate.
There aren't a lot of public transit options, but the stadium is easy enough to drive to. The Raleigh-Durham International Airport is a straight shot up 40 from the campus and can be reached in 15-20 minutes (pending traffic).
Directly across the street from the stadium is a parking garage with easy access to the stadium. For a two-hour game, expect to pay $10 to park there. Despite the price, it's much easier to park here than to try to find campus parking and walk.
Tickets cost $5 and entry couldn't be easier. Tickets need to be purchased at the gate, but lines are rarely longer than two or three people.
There is basically one concourse that runs behind a grandstand on one side of the field. Although students show up in pretty good numbers, a large number of them immediately empty onto the track and into the designated stands behind the goals. This makes general access around the concourse very easy. There is one restroom near the gate, and with few crowds, it's easy to access.
It's hard to complain about a $5 investment for any sporting event, particularly one that generates some student passion on campus.
With the $5 ticket and $4 maximum food prices, it's a cheap night out. For a true soccer fan, it's a great deal.
For such a small scale event, there are a lot of frills. It's not often you see the pep band at a college soccer game. The student engagement and tradition of switching stands at halftime makes for a true home field advantage. Mr. Wulf roaming the sidelines only adds to the university support. And the ease of viewing from inside or outside the stadium gives a great feel of being connected to campus.
On the scale of overall sports, this may not blow you away. But if you're looking for a grass roots college athletics experience at a value price, a Wolfpack soccer game makes a great stop.
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2110 Blue Ridge Rd
Raleigh, NC 27607
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