- Richard Smith
Harford Stadium – Harford Fighting Owls Soccer
Photos by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Harford Stadium 401 Thomas Run Rd Bel Air, MD 21015
Year Opened: 1968
The Fighting Owls of Bel Air
Harford Community College is located in Bel Air, MD, roughly between Baltimore and the Delaware state line. They play in NJCAA Division I, the highest athletic level for 2-year colleges, and are a part of the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference.
The Harford Stadium is in the same Thomas Run Park area as the Harford Varsity Baseball Field. and the Harford Varsity Softball Field. The nearby APG Federal Credit Union Arena also opened in the last ten years. The stadium was built in 1968 and most recently updated with an artificial field turf surface in 2007. Harford has hosted various championship events at the stadium including the NJCAA District H Men’s & Women’s Soccer Championships, NJCAA Region XX Championships, and the Maryland High School Men’s and Women’s Soccer All-Star Games. In 2023 it will be the host facility of the NJCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship.
The Aberdeen Arsenal of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball played the 2000 season at the baseball fields at Thomas Run Park. The Arsenal departed to make room for the Aberdeen IronBirds, the A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles owned by Cal Ripken, Jr.
Food & Beverage 1
There technically is no food offered at the Harford Stadium but with the nearby Wawa convenience store a short walk down the paved path between fields, I count it as the field’s own concession stand. The food offerings vary from hoagies, soup, quesadillas, and hot dogs. And the prices are better than most concession stands.
There is not much to Harford Stadium. There is a simple old-style set of seats and that is pretty much it. There is some grass you could also sit on but we did not see anyone do that.
There is not much else in terms of atmosphere as it is a JUCO-level soccer match game. The team does have a PA announcer who also plays some music.
Harford Community College is in a suburban location and has plenty of free parking. The area is safe and has many restaurants nearby. Naughty Dogs is within walking distance and has a fun, cheap bar for pre and post-game refreshments, along with food such as pit beef. JD’s Smokehouse located across the street provides another option for food and drinks and some pretty good barbecue. If you are in the mood for Mexican, La Tolteca is located just a brief distance away and is a consistently good food place.
Travel into Bel Air and there are multiple chain and local options. Zen 16 Sushi Cafe and MaGerks Pub & Grill are some great options.
A quick drive in the other direction is Aberdeen. Olive Tree is a better version of a well-known Italian chain, while Mamie’s Cafe with Love is an old-school Baltimore-style restaurant that offers free desserts with all meals. Super Chicken Rico is another choice with which you can’t go wrong.
The attendees at most games are family members or other athletes. There may be a few local residents who attend the games. The fans are knowledgeable and friendly to visitors. We did see some students which is surprising for a non-residential community college.
Harford is located just a few miles off of I-95, one of the largest highways in the northeast. But State Route 22 can be very crowded with commuters traveling between Aberdeen Proving Grounds (APG) and central Harford County. APG has become a very large Army base after the last round of federal base realignment and closure activities. So leave some extra time getting to the campus. There is plenty of free parking.
Towson University in Northeastern Maryland is a brand new extension campus of the well-established state university that recently opened across from the Harford campus.
Return on Investment 3
The match we attended was $5 for the general public and free for students and staff. While parking is free, it seems that even the small amount of $5 is more than it needs to be. There is little reason to charge other than get some work experience for the students working the gate. The low cost of concessions at nearby Wawa does help in making it more reasonable.
The Harford Sports Complex also has two softball fields. a baseball field, as well as a convertible field that can hold softball and/or baseball games.
If you get a chance to peek into the nearby APG Federal Credit Union Arena it is worth a visit as this is quite an impressive facility for a junior college.
The simple Harford Stadium does not necessarily impress, but it offers good sports action for the fans.