Francis Olympic Field – WashU Bears
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Francis Olympic Field 1 Big Bend Blvd St. Louis, MO 63105
Year Opened: 1902
Historic Soccer in St. Louis
While the soccer scene in St. Louis is growing thanks to the addition of the city’s MLS franchise, few may be privy to the fact that college soccer is also growing in the area. A stellar example of this is Washington University’s soccer team. Playing in one of the most historic facilities in America, this program has a small but loud fanbase that shows up to games on a regular basis. And with a beautiful location, it is easy to see why.
Food & Beverage 1
The biggest downside to games at WashU is the lack of concessions. One single concessions stand is open during games, serving the most basic of stadium fare. If you want anything beyond a soda, hot dog, or chips, you likely will be looking elsewhere before or after the match to satisfy your hunger.
The stadium itself seems simple. A throwback soccer pitch in the middle of a running track harkens back to images of the golden era of college athletics. This image is with merit, however, as the stadium itself is indeed the same facility that hosted the 1904 St. Louis Olympics. The large wrought iron gates that greet you as you enter the facility are the same gates that greeted fans and athletes alike in 1904. The stadium is also known as the birthplace of the gold medal, the first main stadium for a modern Olympic games, and was recognized in 2019 by the International Olympic Committee for its historic significance. Walking through these entry gates feels like you are a part of history.
Once inside, the stadium features a single section of grandstands underneath a press box also bearing the 1904 Olympics name. Seating is open for all fans and plentiful, but the benches don’t feature backs or individual chairs.
The area around Francis Olympic Field is a beautiful part of St. Louis. Located on the west side of the city of St. Louis, the campus itself is a stunning gem. Each of the buildings feature intricate stonework and details, the likes of which few colleges today can showcase. The grounds are perfectly manicured and the neighborhood outside of the campus is equally as beautiful. Not far are restaurants and shops, and a few minutes down the highway is downtown St. Louis.
The fans for WashU soccer are what would be expected for college soccer. A solid mix of current students, alumni, and family or friends of players usually make up the majority of fans at the stadium. While not exactly a sellout crowd, the fans know their soccer and cheer along with each play on the field.
To get to Washington University, several highways can make your task easier. Located near the intersection of I-170 and I-64, the campus features several parking lots near the stadium that serve fans well. Traffic is rarely congested in the area, and signage is plentiful nearby to help you get to the campus.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets to WashU men’s soccer are free, which means watching some college soccer in St. Louis is incredibly affordable. Parking on site is also free for fans of athletic events, making this a no-brainer for budget-conscious sports fans.
The stadium features a large Olympic rings statue near the entrance of the stadium, commemorating the 1904 St. Louis Olympics – this is a popular photo spot for fans on game days.
Inside the stadium, a large ornate stone obelisk stands as a water fountain for fans. Erected by the Class of 1870, it honors the memory of David R. Francis, for whom the stadium was named.
Watching college soccer in a historic sports stadium is something many fans don’t get the opportunity to do. If you find yourself in St. Louis, catching a soccer match at Francis Olympic Field on the campus of Washington University should be near to the top of any sports fan’s list. While not as big a draw as some of the city’s major sports teams, WashU features no less succ