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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

Cary Street Field - VCU Rams

Photos courtesy of Gregory Koch

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

Cary Street Field 1106 West Cary Street Richmond, VA 23220

Capacity: 1,200

Rowdy Rams on Cary Street

Located in the middle of the urban campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in downtown Richmond, Virginia, Cary Street Field is home to the Rams’ field hockey program. The field is located next to the Cary Street Gym at the intersection of Cary Street and Harrison Street and can hold approximately 1,200 fans. Its most memorable moments came when it hosted the 1992 NCAA Field Hockey Championship, which saw Old Dominion defeat Iowa 4-0 before a capacity crowd.

Despite hosting the finals, VCU would not actually participate in the tournament until 18 yeas later, when they qualified for the 2020 tournament (actually held in the spring of 2021 due to the COVID pandemic) but were eliminated in the first round by Bucknell.

Food & Beverage 1

There is no food or drink for sale at Cary Street Field on a regular basis, although fans are free to bring their own. The reason this score earns a point is that VCU will occasionally bring in a food truck or have other food-related promotions, although this does not occur on a regular basis. Be sure to check the promotional schedule for more details if this matters to you.

Atmosphere 2

Cary Street Field is, as its name implies, more of a field than a stadium. There is a small press box and some bleachers set back from the field, but the layout here is nothing fancy. The bleachers are spread out quite a bit away from each other rather than there being a single, larger set, and that hurts the atmosphere here with the fans not being together like that. In any case, there isn’t much going on here other than the game itself – college field hockey simply isn’t a huge deal here, nor is it at many other colleges across the country. A small scoreboard is located across the field and shows only the most basic information. The PA announcer announces not just substitutions and goals but also things like penalty corners, which can be useful if fans new to the sport don’t fully understand what is going on. However, beyond that, the atmosphere is pretty basic.

Neighborhood 5

Cary Street, which lends its name to the field, is one of the core streets of downtown Richmond. If you head just a little bit west, you will find the bustling Carytown neighborhood and everything it has to offer. Carytown Burgers & Fries and the Galaxy Diner are local favorites, but you can also find coffee shops, Thai, pho, and more. There are a few places closer to the stadium – this is downtown after all – but we recommend heading into Carytown if you can.

Fans 4

VCU draws between 100 and 200 fans per game, which is typical for the sport. While the fans are passionate, the layout of the bleachers makes it harder for them to bring the energy they otherwise would when they are sitting in several groups so far away from each other. This is not really their fault, but nonetheless it hurts the energy here. While the fans do what they can to cheer on their team, and truly earn their Rowdy Rams moniker, it would be a lot better here if they were seated closer together.

Access 3

Parking for Cary Street Field is available in the West Cary Street Garage across Harrison Street for $2/hour. The stadium is directly across from the garage, but you will have to walk a bit to find along Cary Street to the actual gate, which is hidden away near the Cary Street Gym. There are restrooms available in the far corner of the stadium, which are fine, but there seems to be a lot of unnecessary walking to get anywhere here. While the parking charge is not too outrageous, it does add expense for a sport which is otherwise free to watch at almost any college.

Return on Investment 3

Although admission to Cary Street Field is free, the parking will run you about $6 depending on how early you arrive and whether you stay until the end of the game. As there are no concessions, you will not pay for them unless you bring your own or decide to buy something from a food truck if it’s there that day. While the price will certainly not break the bank, as noted in the previous section you will wind up paying more than you would almost anywhere else.

Note that the free admission applies to regular season games only – Atlatnic 10 and NCAA Tournament games may charge for admission.

Extras 2

There is a marketing table by the entrance with programs and other giveaways.

A second star for the various promotions VCU has throughout the season to entice fans to come, such as International Day, Food Truck Day, and Stick it to Cancer.

Final Thoughts

The middle of downtown Richmond is an odd place to play field hockey, but VCU makes things work in this environment. This location has its benefits and its trade-offs, you will have to pay for parking, but it’s also close to a lot of other neat places to explore if you’re interested in that sort of thing. That being said, when you look at the kind of field hockey stadiums that host the national championship today, it is hard to believe VCU was among them at one point. While the Rowdy Fam fans are top notch, at least to the extent the layout allows them to be, the rest of the experience at Cary Street Field is significantly less impressive.

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