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Official Review by Josh Oakes, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Opened in 1992, Klöckner Stadium is home to the Virginia Cavalier’s men’s soccer team. This 7,100-seat, $3.4 million stadium is one of the best college soccer facilities in the United States, and has hosted a surplus of 30 NCAA Division I men’s soccer playoff matches. The Cavalier’s men’s soccer program has won six national championships, and has sent over 40 players to the MLS. The atmosphere is electric, the pitch is immaculate, and the fans are friendly. Combine this with the second-most successful men’s NCAA D1 soccer program in the nation, and you get an experience worth repeating.
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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".
As is the case at most of the stadiums at UVa, the food selection is small and overpriced. A small bag of chips will cost you $3. An equally small bag of peanuts costs $4, as do the jumbo pretzel and hot dog. The chili cheese dog and nachos weigh in at $5 a piece. Bottled water is $3.50, but there are plenty of water fountains that have free water. Gatorade and soda are both $4. A "souvenir soda", served in a nifty Virginia Cavalier's themed cup, is $5. My point is that you should eat before or after the game. This is not difficult, considering the veritable plethora of dining options within walking distance of Klöckner Stadium.
UVa's last national championship was 2009, and attendance has dropped off slightly since then. This being said, Klöckner Stadium is still one of the premier places to catch a college soccer game. The crowd can be sparse for smaller matches against not-conference teams, but when it comes to divisional rivalries such as games against Duke and the hated Virginia Tech, the crowd comes out in full force, making for a magical experience. When UVa scores or is awarded a free kick or corner kick, the people on the bleachers bang their feet against the metal sheets backing each row, making for a very loud and intimidating setting. From time to time, the students will select one player from the opposing team, usually the dirtiest player, and harass him by name for the entire game.
The campus at the University of Virginia is one of the premier campuses in the nation, abounding in natural and architectural beauty and history. The Rotunda, Greek Row, and an area known as The Corner, are all within easy walking distance of Klöckner Stadium. The Rotunda is the centerpiece of the university and was designed by Thomas Jefferson himself, and Greek Row is just across the street from the Rotunda.
The Corner is a historical district, with brick sidewalks and restaurants galore, along with a few local shops. Bodo's Bagels is a local favorite serving up piping-hot, freshly made bagel sandwiches for under $6 a piece. For a more substantial meal, as well as a wider beer selection, head on down to the No. 3 Bar. This full-sized restaurant and bar comes fully loaded with TV's, booths, and amazing burgers at excellent prices. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available, and their special of the day is written on a chalkboard outside the No. 3. If you happen to be in town and see that they have their chili-cheeseburger, get it! This delectable creation is a thick, juicy beef patty topped with their homemade chili and shredded cheese, along with a ripe tomato, lettuce, and onions. Even further down the road, you will find the Mellow Mushroom, a local hotspot that serves up delicious, handmade, specialty pizzas. It is possible to walk to the Mellow Mushroom from Klöckner Stadium, but I would advise driving. There is plenty of beer, the pizza is delicious, and the service is friendly.
Not everyone who shows up to support the Cavaliers is the most knowledgeable when it comes to soccer, but a fair amount typically knows what is going on, or at least think they know more than the ref. Most fans consult their free programs throughout the game for player names, stats and the records of both teams. Soccer may not be the biggest sport in the US, but the fans at UVa are enthusiastic about the sport and those who know what is going on are always happy to help those who don't. After UVa scores a goal, a group of students carrying an orange Virginia Soccer blanket run one lap around the stadium.
Klöckner Stadium shares parking lots with John Paul Jones Arena, University Hall (U-Hall), Davenport Field, the track and field complex, and the field hockey field, and all the parking is free during the regular season and pre-season. Select portions of the parking lots will cost you around $5 during post-season play. Parking is usually easy to find, but the lots can get close to full on days when there are multiple athletic events.
The sightlines are incredible, regardless of where you choose to sit or stand. The bleachers offer an amazing view of the overall action, as well as John Paul Jones Arena, University Hall, and the mountains beyond. You can even watch a baseball game at Davenport Field from the top of the stadium, though massive pine trees mostly block the view of the baseball field. The sunset behind the bleachers is absolutely glorious every time.
This place is beautiful! The stadium is on top of a hill surrounded by green trees and the campus of UVa. The neighborhood and architecture of the stadium gets a couple extra points tagged on here.
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1517 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
1609 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
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