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Official Review by Sean MacDonald, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Georgetown Hoyas are known for basketball and little else in the collegiate sports world. That is rather unfair, as the Hoyas have fielded a quality soccer squad over the past few seasons, losing the national championship to Indiana in 2012 and winning the Big East in 2013.
Both the men’s and women’s teams play at Shaw Field; one of several sports venues on Georgetown’s campus. The teams began practice on the field in 1996, but did not play their first game there until the 2001 fall season. Since then, the program has become nationally recognized and Shaw Field is well worth a visit if you enjoy soccer.
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Just outside the main gate is a barbeque stand with chicken on a stick being sold for $5. This was labeled as "Today's Special" during my most recent visit, so you might find something different when you visit. Bacon Cheeseburgers are $6 while shaved ice is also available for $3/$5.
Beverages are limited to bottled water and cans of Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite, all for $2, while cups of lemonade go for $4. You're only going to spend a couple of hours here so you can forgo the food, but if you decide to indulge, there is enough here to satisfy you.
The field surface is natural grass, and you are surrounded by campus buildings and trees on all three sides, an attractive setting. The seats are all grey plastic chairs, installed as part of a major renovation in 2012. Other improvements included a new scoreboard, a new fence around the perimeter through which you can watch the game if you don't want to pay, and a brick entrance next to the concession stand.
Before the game, music plays while the players warm up, but when the game is on, there are no distractions. During my most recent visit there was a very brief halftime competition that involved Dads carrying tires that wasn't announced in advance, but that was it.
The clock counts down from 45 minutes and is stopped by the referee after goals and during injuries. There is a last minute of play in the half announcement and the last ten seconds are counted down by the P.A. announcer as well.
There is no shade, so if you are there on a sunny afternoon, bring a hat and sunscreen. Sit along the top row if you want a breeze.
The minor college sports generally offer little else than the sport itself and that is no different here. Come to be entertained by the soccer and you will not be disappointed.
Shaw Field is located in the northwest quadrant of the campus, making it a short walk back to the tony neighborhood of Georgetown. There are dozens of bars and restaurants in this area that range from cheap eats to upscale steakhouses. Martin's Tavern at N and Wisconsin is one good spot to stop among many.
You are also right next to the Potomac River and there are plenty of things to do there, including kayaking and boat tours.
Further afield is the nation's capital, with museums and memorials galore, easily accessible once you leave the campus itself.
I was impressed with the turnout on a Labor Day afternoon, as over 2,100 filled the venue, with students along all 3 sidelines, harassing the opposition at every opportunity and performing the Hoya Saxa chant among others.
Those in the stands are mostly families, but they know their players and the game. A really good crowd for a city that gets more than its share of bad press for fan disinterest.
The complex is located above Yates Field House between Kehoe Field and the Georgetown Medical School, in the northwestern quadrant of the campus. Note that you should use North Kehoe Field as your destination on your GPS.
Although there are no subway stations nearby, you can grab the Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle (GUTS) to Dupont Circle or Rosslyn stations. Service is free and it is supposedly restricted to those affiliated with the university, though I was able to board one without displaying ID.
The DC Circulator is another option, though you will have to navigate through campus from the dropoff point.
You can also walk about 30 minutes from Rosslyn Station or 40 minutes from Dupont Circle if the weather is nice and you have time. The campus was under construction when I visited, so it was a bit of a detour to walk from the main entrance at 37th and O Streets to Shaw Field.
Inside the venue, there is only one long grandstand and you cannot access the sidelines unless you are a student.
As an aside, if you are arriving at DCA from the north, you can see Kehoe Field and its bright green artificial turf from the left side of the aircraft. Shaw Field is immediately north of this.
Tickets for adults are $10, about what you would expect for a top-ranked soccer program. If you buy food and a drink you are looking at $17 for an afternoon, a reasonable outlay for what you receive.
There is nothing here other than the stadium and the campus. A point for having the successes of the teams on the fencing around the field.
Georgetown soccer is not the first thing you will think of when visiting Washington DC, but it is a top-ranked program that will get you to the campus, one of the capital's best kept secrets. The collegiate soccer schedule begins in late August and runs through early November, so you can combine a visit with the Nationals or the Capitals in the national capital.
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