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Official Review by Andrew Pregler, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The talk around Syracuse sports usually centers on the University, the MiLB AAA Chiefs and the AHL’s Crunch. However, there is another professional team in the Salt City and it belongs to the Major Indoor Soccer League. Established in 2008, the seven-league team operates in cities stretching as far west as St. Louis. Founded in 2010, the Syracuse Silver Knights joined the MISL under Tommy Tanner who is Owner, President and Head Coach. The team plays ten home games a year all on weekends making the Knights a great entertainment option for families and have geared their marketing efforts as such.
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 War Memorial is much like any other hockey arena you'll go to: it has several food vending stations built into the facilities as well as several vendors with drink and cotton candy stations milling about. The prices are more than reasonable and on par with any venue that you will see in Syracuse. Some of the other extras included are a Subway on the second concourse level along with 1911, a stand where several higher end beers and hard ciders are available for purchase all at between $5-$10.
Indoor soccer is a very unique animal in that traditional soccer fans see build-ups and well, soccer. However it adds elements that many soccer critics would enjoy: fewer players on the pitch (it's 5 on 5), constantly rotating players in and out like hockey and a much faster paced game emphasizing attack rather than defense.
While the War Memorial may not be packed for Silver Knights' games, the atmosphere is definitely high energy. The stereo system constantly plays upbeat pop music that only is played louder and faster after a Knights goal.
Another cool aspect about indoor soccer is just how close to the action you are in any seat. One of the perks of the War Memorial is its classic oval single-tiered bowl that makes everything louder and the fans closer. With indoor soccer, the glass used for hockey is up most of the way around, but there are seats with nothing blocking fans from the action. With how fast paced the soccer action is, it's never quiet or dull at one of these games. But ultimately, it's a very family friendly environment. There are tons of mid-period entertainment involving local groups of kids performing and I caught more than a few of them singing along to the pop music as it played.
The area near the War Memorial is littered with government buildings and just across the way from the Syracuse OnCenter. This doesn't mean there are not food options near the stadium. Ale 'n' Angus Pub is located just behind the War Memorial and offers classic pub food and atmosphere. The real scene is in Armory Square, which is just a ten minute walk away. There you'll find plenty of amazing eateries including the famous Syracuse Pastabilities (family friendly) and the Blue Tusk. (Much more upscale.)
The fans of the Silver Knights are the mostly families decked out in the Silver Knights' colors of green and orange, which isn't as hard on the eyes as you may suspect. There is a very active MC who starts cheers and is always high energy leading the fans. Everyone is into the game action; with a chorus of "ooohs" coming at every shot that just misses netting the Knights another goal.
Much like any other soccer game you would attend, there is a Supporters Club named the Salt City Supporters clad in all orange, with orange and white checkered flags. They bang drums and blast occasional vuvuzelas leading much of the crowd. The crowd is loudest after goals (naturally), but really lit up during my most recent visit when after Syracuse's sixth goal, the Captain led the crowd in cheers after his goal, tossing a Frisbee to the loudest section.
The War Memorial is very easily accessed from I-81, which is pretty much the only way to get in or out of Syracuse if you're coming from outside the area. The streets are slightly confusing around the arena as they are littered with one ways and no clear directions, but definitely manageable for a Silver Knights game.
Tickets to a Silver Knights game range from $17 for adults to $14 for kids and $10 for tickets in the highest part of the stadium behind the goal. Combine this with the reasonable food prices and the great atmosphere and it's sure to be a hit with the family if you're in the area. For Syracuse, this is a great weekend event for those missing soccer after the Syracuse University soccer season wraps up at Lampe Athletics Complex. If you're judicious and get downtown early, you can even nab free street parking, which is always a cherry on top.
The War Memorial carries a lot of history in the area for both concerts and filming of the movie Slapshot. The War Memorial also features a mini museum on the first floor where you can see artifacts from local Central New Yorkers who served in previous wars. The Silver Knights also put together a pretty cool gift shop near the main entrance where you can grab a cheap soccer scarf for your collection.
Overall, the War Memorial in Syracuse does every event justice thanks to cozy seating and convenient locations. While you may not think that indoor soccer is something to plan a weekend around, if you're in the area craving some soccer or looking for a fun family afternoon, Silver Knights games will not disappoint thanks to the great atmosphere
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238 Harrison St
Syracuse, NY 13202
311 S Franklin St
Syracuse, NY 13202
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