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Official Review by Yuri Paretski, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The name of the main stadium in Stryi, Ukraine is “Sokol” (from the Slavic word for Falcon). It alludes to the past which may be associated with Sokolsky youth and sports movement, which a century ago was massively popular not only in Galicia, but also across Eastern and Central Europe. Then the idea of the movement, that had been founded by Miroslav Tyrs in 1862 in Prague, was picked up by many people in different regions. Eventually the movement spread to the whole of Galicia.
In 1894 a separate Ukrainian Sokol was founded. This branch in Stryi began in 1906. Besides Galicia, Ukrainian society was fixed in Podillya and Bukovina, sometimes called Sich. In 1911 the progenitor of the football team FC Skala (Rock) began its existence, and was referred to as the Ukrainian sports circle Sich. However, accurate information by whom and when the Stadium Sokol was built is not available. We only know that before the arrival of the Soviet regime, which in 1939 suddenly eliminated all the Sokols featured educational and patriotic work with youth, FC Skala played matches in Jordan Park (during the war the square was known as USK Skala), as evidence survived via football posters. Today it is park Shevchenko, but since time can change so much, it is not clear where exactly football was played in Stryi before and during the Second World War.
Since then stadium was built, it has been repaired and reconstructed several times. Any web source will tell you that the Sokol has a lot of virtues, which, in my opinion, is largely exaggerated. One of its tribunes is equipped with plastic seats, a roof over your head and a separate lodge for honored guests. Repairs on the other side occurred very long ago. Some wooden benches are rotted or completely absent. However, despite all the advantages of one side and disadvantages of another side, the old side gets the majority of fans when they come to watch a game played by their favorite team.
One interesting fact about Stadium Sokol is that it has been specially suited to host the sport of automodel (radio controlled cars). An area was built in 2006, and in 2008 it hosted the 57th European Championship for the automodel sport, which was the first time that the sport was hosted in Ukraine.
Today, as a hundred years ago, Sokol is the home stadium of football club Skala, the flagship of the city’s football, and a participant of the second league (D3) of the Ukrainian championship. The official capacity of the arena is 6,000 spectators. The stadium makes a positive impression and does not disappoint on expectations.
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During football matches at the stadium, you'll find concessions selling mineral water, sweet soda water, juices, and snacks. Buying and bringing beer or hard alcohol is not a problem, so often the local people do, although you need to be careful. Police tend to allow drinking alcohol at the stadium, but by law it is forbidden to do so.
The stadium is old. Its beauty is able to exist only for fans who don't require the comfort and luxurious shine of arenas. Those who are accustomed to low-level games and feel at ease where there is practically nothing will love the simplicity of this old venue.
The stadium has an old electronic scoreboard, and two tribunes. The new tribune is equipped with plastic seats, and a roof over your head. The old tribune, as well as the beautiful main entrance gate and standings, are made in the old style that are traditional for the countries of the former USSR.
The stadium is located in one of the suburbs of the town Stryi in western Ukraine. The first mention of the city dates to around 1385. Lovers of architecture will not be bored here. The magnificent architecture of Stryi has been inherited from its Austro-Hungarian and Polish past, and you can enjoy it in full. In this small town which is inhabited by about 50,000 residents, there really is something to see and admire: dozens of well-preserved buildings from the middle-end of the last century, and in some cases an earlier period. Their beautiful facades are painted in festive, spring-like bright colors. And the Catholic Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, built in 1425 in the Gothic style is a work of art.
For fans of military history, I recommend finding the themed bar, Bunker, located at Sichovikh Striltsiv, 10. Its concept is inextricably linked to one more period in the history of Ukraine; the Ukrainian insurrectional movement, the struggle against the communist regime of the Soviet Union and fascist German troops. In the current realities this new turn was given, which is also reflected in a pub exposition. The Bunker is really something to see. In addition, there is delicious and inexpensive food featuring dishes in the Ukrainian style, as well as friendly staff.
Football club Skala has a small group of ultras, who wear a green-crimson color scheme and are located on the old tribune of Stadium Sokol on match day. The beginnings of fanaticism in Stryi appeared in the mid-80s in support of the FC Burovik (such was the name of the club in those years).
As for the modern ultras-movement in Stryi, it appeared in 2009. A group of the local young people, supporting at that time the flagship of regional football - FC Karpaty from Lviv, wanted to do something local in their hometown. Since then fan-sector of Stryi has begun to meet and support the team regularly. The best turnout from these ultras came in 2011. At that time one sector of the old tribune of Stadium Sokol was collecting around 70 green-crimson ultras. Today there are two times fewer, but now they have experience and thousands of kilometers away there are still many people following the team.
The main enemy of FC Skala fans is FC Niva from Ternopil. Friends of FC Sokol from Zolochiv are representatives of another team in the Lviv region who prefer to support a local club, acting among amateurs.
Stryi has a train station. Here you can catch trains moving in the direction of Bratislava, Prague, Budapest, Mukachevo, Uzhgorod, Lviv, Kiev, Kharkov, and Odessa.
Thirty-five kilometers from Stryi is Truskovets, a city famous for its mineral springs, where you can relax and improve your health. Seventy kilometers away is Lviv, the capital of Galicia, which has the nearest international airport.
Securing parking at the Stadium Sokol is a little tricky as the facility doesn't have an official lot. The car can be placed at the entrance at your own risk.
This venue lives up to expectations. Ukraine is a very inexpensive country compared to the majority of the rest of Europe. Here you will find very cheap transport, hotels, food, and beverages. For each home game FC Skala produces a booklet which serves as the official color program. Its price is 10 UAH (about $.50 USD). Tickets for the match cost the same price.
The gates of this stadium are closed only at night. So if you will be near during the day, you can come and enter without any problem even if there is not a game. Usually people use the stadium for sports like athletics, running and so on. The only thing that you can't do is go on the pitch.
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