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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Southridge Park is a bit of an oxymoron, as it features both newly-updated seating and press box facilities, but a terrible field in terms of playing conditions. The field gets its name due to its location, quite literally on the back fence of Miami Southridge Senior High School, but it is used by numerous high school teams from around South Florida…not just the Southridge Spartans.
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Southridge Park features two separate entrances for fans on opposite sides of the field, as well as concession stands at each respective entrance. These concession stands are usually selling the standard hot dogs, burgers, chips, and soda during popular games, but can remain dormant during lesser games where the fans are not as numerous. However, should you be at a marquee matchup like Southridge vs. Killian High School, getting a bite to eat and something to drink shouldn't be a problem. Just don't expect an expansive menu.
While Southridge Park isn't exactly somewhere that could pass as a Friday Night Lights stand-in, it does have an air of excitement about it, depending upon the matchup. In addition, the fact that all the seats have backs to them makes for a much more enjoyable experience for the fans. However, should you decide to take in a Somerset Silver Palms vs. Miami Community Charter School matchup, the lack of fans can make the stadium feel somewhat barren, making the overall enjoyment level of the game a little less fun. After all, what is football, especially at a high school level, without a giant crowd of roaring fans?
Don't forget to lock your doors when parking at Southridge Park. Known for its crime and less-than-friendly neighbors, Southridge Park isn't exactly in the shiniest park of South Florida. The only saving grace that the park has is its proximity to Southland Mall. There, you can find plenty of places to grab something to eat (Buffalo Wild Wings, Applebee's, Olive Garden, etc.), shopping, or even a movie theater. As far as hotels go, there are a few hotels right off of the Florida's Turnpike exit for Southland Mall. Pricing, much like anywhere else in Miami, depends upon the time of year you decide to stay.
Fans at Southridge can get pretty rowdy. Most of them are family or friends of the kids on the field, with a decent contingent of students from the schools playing on the field. And generally, these fans are good, kind people out to enjoy a high school football game. However, there are those whose comments towards the referees can run a little blue. Thankfully, due to the split parking lots and grandstands at Southridge Park, the odds of a fight breaking out between rival fans is much lower. On the positive side, the fans can be extremely energetic and passionate, depending upon the matchup, giving you the true high school football experience.
Southridge Park is located right off the Florida's Turnpike's Cutler Bay exit. The unfortunate part is that the field itself lies in the middle of a neighborhood, requiring a bit of a venture through small local streets to get to the field. Thankfully, the tall stadium lights provide for an easy target to aim for when trying to find the field at night. Parking isn't massively plentiful, but there are enough spaces for you to park should you arrive a few minutes early.
The price of a ticket for a game at Southridge Park will not break your bank, so the investment isn't much to get to a game, beyond a few bucks and your gas. That said, Southridge Park doesn't stand out in any way either over the other local football fields in South Florida. It isn't the worst experience in the area, but not much stands out.
The only extra that a fan can see at a game at Southridge Park is that marching bands may perform at halftime. Some schools have incredible marching band programs, making for impressive performances at halftime. Others, however, don't even bring a band, taking away from some of the enjoyment.
If your team finds itself playing at Southridge Park, don't expect too much. The seats are new, clean, and have backs, but the rest of the experience is overwhelmingly underwhelming. The field is in poor condition and the concessions are standard. Aside from the low ticket prices and comfortable seating, not much at Southridge Park blows you away when at the facility.
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