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Official Review by Andy Mantsch, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Duke University in Durham, NC is known for its beautiful brick castle-like buildings on a pristine tree-lined campus. Amidst this storybook setting is an often overlooked, but fully deserving of accolades multi-sport complex known as Koskinen Stadium. Blue Devils soccer calls this complex home (as well as the elite Blue Devils lacrosse program), and it is one of the nicer soccer homes in the country. But what would you expect from Duke's campus?
Officially built in 1984 (although a playing field prior), Koskinen Stadium received its current moniker in 1999 for Duke supporters John and Patricia Koskinen. The beautiful brick stadium has hosted four ACC Men's Soccer Tournaments, three ACC Women's Soccer Tournaments and two ACC Men's Lacrosse Tournaments. It's truly one of the premier college soccer facilities in the nation.
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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".
The food selection is pretty bare-bones, which is about on par for most college soccer stadiums around the country. There is one concession stand near the north gate offering the modest selection.
Pizza ($3) and hot dogs ($4) make up the only real entree options. Popcorn ($5), peanuts ($5), candy ($2) and chips ($1) make up the remaining options. The food itself is pretty standard quality; not inedible, but nothing special.
Drink options consist of Coke products, lemonade, coffee or hot chocolate, all $3.
Overall, there's not a ton of variety, but it's college soccer, so expectations shouldn't be particularly high. Just grab a cheap piece of pizza and a hot chocolate on a cool Durham night and enjoy the setting.
As far as college soccer goes, you just aren't going to find many nicer facilities. While a lot of teams are offering up bleachers and a field, this is truly a stadium with beautiful brick facades and raised observation decks.
You'll notice the difference right away. The same brickwork that covers a large chunk of the famed Duke campus makes up the exterior of the stadium. Once inside, the large press box on the gated side of the stadium rises above the main grandstand and looks like something worthy of the football team. Bleachers with seatbacks line the majority of the grandstand, offering a reasonable level of comfort. Cool and quirky features around the stadium add some Blue Devil flair, particularly the bathroom placards with pitchforks and tails.
A decent turnout from the Blue Devil crowd and an occasional appearance from the Blue Devil mascot add some flair to the beautiful setting. There's not much else here to jump out of your seat about, except for some quality soccer.
Tickets are all general admission, and the stadium is small enough that there aren't really any bad seats. For best views of the press box, you can walk to the smaller bleachers on the other side of the field.
Unless you're a Tar Heel, can you really complain about being on or around the Duke campus? There may not be a more picturesque setting in all of college. I'd strongly recommend taking a walk around campus and at least to nearby Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Nearby eateries worth checking out include Nana's Restaurant, True Flavors Diner & Catering, Gonza Tacos Y Tequila or Mateo. All of these are a bit off campus and likely require a drive, but you're in Durham, so you can choose from a seemingly unlimited number of other food options, should you so desire.
The most obvious campus attractions to check out are Cameroon Indoor Stadium (the famous home of Blue Devils basketball) and the rising spires of the Duke chapel. The beautiful brickwork and history make these more than worth a trip. Off-campus, there are more options in the tri-city area, but the most nearby and beautiful may be the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.
Because you're in the Raleigh/Durham area, hotels are also abundant. Some nearby options include the University Inn for those inclined for the more local feel, or the Hilton Garden Inn Durham/University Medical Center for the more traditional or points-hungry visitors.
Fan support is lukewarm at Koskinen Stadium. The fans that are there are involved and seem to know what's going on with their team.
Unfortunately, Duke doesn't pack the 4,500-seat stadium let alone approach the goal of 7,000 with standing room included. They do, however, cheer hard for their teams and genuinely want to see the Blue Devils succeed.
The crowd engages, but sheer size keeps them from truly selling out and bringing in consistently vocal fans. Easily one of the better crowds in college soccer, Blue Devils fan cheer their team on to the best of their ability.
Duke University sits right where 501 meets 147, both major roads in the Durham area. I-85 is just to the north, adding another major thoroughfare and making a trip into the university area a relatively simple one.
Public transit isn't even really an option here. Fortunately, driving onto campus isn't particularly difficult, although it can be a bit confusing if you don't follow the signs. The Raleigh-Durham International Airport is a short trip southeast on 147, making it easy to just pop in for a game.
Once on campus, you'll find a couple of small lots for free parking on either end of the stadium. If those should fill up, you'll have to pay to park somewhere else on campus and walk, so getting there early might be a good idea.
Tickets are $5 and can be purchased on the north or south ends of the stadium. Gates are quick and easy to get through.
Moving around the stadium is simple, as it's just a big oval with grandstands on either side. The stadium is particularly new and clean, even in the restrooms. It's just a very comfortable feel all around and feels very welcoming.
It's really hard to beat what you get for the price at Koskinen.
Between a $5 ticket and a potentially $10 all-inclusive meal, Duke soccer is worth the price of admission. Throw in free parking and abundance of hotel options, and you can really make this trip as easily as you possibly can. This place is definitely worth the trip if you're a Duke soccer fan.
There may not be a ton of extras here, but the couple that they do have tower above other college soccer venues. The brickwork gives the stadium an incredibly modern feel. The beautiful press box far exceeds expectations, compared to local competitors. Some of the simple Blue Devil fixtures around the stadium truly make this seem like a home field.
While Koskinen Stadium isn't going to blow anyone away in comparison to the bigger, better and badder stadiums around the college landscape, it really doesn't have to be. Its subtle beauty and excellent product on the field make this a hidden visit for any soccer fan.
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2514 University Dr #104
Durham, NC 27704
2102 W Main St
Durham, NC 27705