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Official Review by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
W. Denny Spry Stadium is a 3,000-seat venue built solely for men's and women's soccer at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. Built back in 1997, it includes lots of amenities that are only now beginning to show up in college soccer venues across the country, so definitely a facility that was ahead of its time. Features include a press box with rooftop observation deck, video board, multiple concessions stands, lighting for night games, and lighted practice fields.
In addition to Wake Forest regular season soccer games, Spry Stadium has also hosted NCAA soccer tournaments, MLS matches, and exhibition games.
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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".
Concessions at Spry Stadium offer a lot more than you would expect from a small venue, including a total of four concessions stands - one fixed main stand in the middle of the grandstand, a mobile stand on the south end of the grandstand, and two specialty kiosks (one for lemonade, the other for fancy pretzels, which can either be sweet or savory).
Food options include pizza, hot dogs, smoked sausage, chicken tenders, corn dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, sunflower seeds, chips, onion rings, the aforementioned pretzels, and three kinds of French fries - regular, sweet potato, and chili cheese. You can also find cotton candy, boxed candy, bottled water, bottled Pepsi products, frozen or fresh-squeezed lemonade, and coffee. All items range in price from $1 to $4, and no alcohol is available.
Seating at Spry Stadium consists of metal benches in a brick-fronted grandstand on the west side of the field, which faces the large video board located in the southeast corner. Many fans also choose to stand (or bring their own chairs and sit) on Alumni Hill, which is on the north end of the field. While the view from the hill is end-on, that area is not technically inside the stadium, so you can watch from there for free - seats inside the grandstand cost $5 each.
The brickwork inside the stadium is pretty impressive, and the surrounding trees provide an intimate, exclusive setting that is appropriate for an Ivy League-esque school such as Wake Forest. There are no extracurricular activities to speak of, like you might see at other sporting events, but soccer doesn't really have many breaks in the action, so they aren't really needed. However, Wake Forest's mascot Demon Deacon does make an appearance at games, so look for him on the hill or in the stands.
Spry Stadium is part of the Reynolda Campus at Wake Forest, and the surrounding area feels pretty residential, with dorms, other athletic fields, and campus buildings nearby, including the business school and the law school. There are no restaurants within walking distance, except a couple of the fast food variety, so for something more substantial you should head over to the Reynolda Historical District, one to two miles away, which offers upscale shopping and dining, plus a few attractions, such as Reynolda Gardens and the Museum of American Art. Silo Bistro and Bar is located here, and offers craft beer, cocktails, and a few seafood selections, as well as small plates and sandwiches.
More traditional dining options, such as Red Hot & Blue, are available near BB&T Field and Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which are also one to two miles from Spry Stadium, but closer to downtown Winston-Salem. Red Hot & Blue is known for its barbecue and burgers, and offers a more typical pre or post game hangout with TV screens to watch other games.
Spry Stadium has a pretty good crowd, with lots of fans on both Alumni Hill and in the stands, and a lot of them wear team gear. A lot of them are students, but there are older adults in attendance as well. There is a decent amount of crowd noise, but you can also hear shouts and grunts from the players, since you are so close to the action, which is something you won't get at many other sports venues. Attendance averages between two and three thousand per game.
Getting to Spry Stadium is fairly easy, and moving around the stadium is a snap since the venue is so small. Major roads into town include I-40, US 52, and US 421, and Spry Stadium is far enough away from downtown that you won't have to deal with much traffic.
There is a parking lot next to the stadium where you can park for free (Wingate Rd), and the gates are open during soccer matches. The open-air concourse is behind the stands, and all the concessions and bathrooms are located there. There are two entrances into the stands, one on each end, and each has its own ticket counter.
It will cost $5 to get into Spry Stadium, but remember you can sit or stand on Alumni Hill for free. Parking is free, and concessions are fairly cheap, so attending a game here is a very inexpensive way to spend an afternoon or an evening. Plus, Wake Forest consistently ranks near the top of Division 1 soccer, so you are guaranteed a good on-field product in addition to a very pleasant, upscale venue.
There are many dilapidated sports venues out there, so being able to visit a relatively posh one is a nice change. Also, you will get to see and interact with the mascot, which is a rarity for "minor" sports like soccer, and for small venues. In addition, you will get to see a highly ranked team play.
Spry Stadium is an upscale soccer venue that is definitely worth a visit if you are in town. The setting is pleasant, and you have a choice of two different vantage points, one of which is free. Even if you are not a Deacons fan, this is a great choice for an evening excursion, or as a road trip when your favorite soccer team comes to town.
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114-D Reynolda Village
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
2250 Reynolda Rd
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
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