Longwood Soccer Field – Longwood Lancers
Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
Longwood Soccer Field 1500 Johnston Dr Farmville, VA 23901
Year Opened: 2006
Small Town Soccer
Opened in 2006, the Longwood Soccer Field is part of the Longwood Athletics Complex, which also Is home to Elizabeth Burger Jackson Field, the home of the Lancers’ field hockey programs. The two fields share a concourse that runs behind the bleachers and it is possible to walk from one to the other without leaving the facility. The stadium has a unique press box made from recycled freight containers and seats approximately 350 fans. Longwood’s men’s soccer team has won two conference titles since joining Division I, but has never made the tournament since the Atlantic Soccer Conference did not have an automatic bid. Since joining the Big South in 2012, Longwood has not been as successful in soccer.
For Stadium Journey’s visit, we attended a doubleheader featuring the Lancers’ women’s and men’s soccer teams. The experiences were roughly comparable, so this review is applicable to either one.
Food & Beverage 0
There is no food or drink for sale at Longwood Soccer Field, but fans are free to bring their own. Some fans set up outside with tents and food before the game, but this is for particular groups who know each other.
When walking into the Longwood Athletics Complex through the main gate, you will have the option of walking to your right to the soccer field or to your left to the field hockey stadium. Both fields are visible throughout most of the complex, so if there are games going on in both places, you can easily watch them both at the same time. The soccer field has a few rows of bleachers beneath the concourse. Smaller fans can lean against the press box in the back row, but these bleachers have less depth than the rest so it will really only be possible for kids and small teens as attractive an option as it may seem. Many fans also choose to bring their own chairs and sit alongside the concourse or bring their blankets and sit on the hill that runs down from the concourse to the left of the bleachers. Wherever you sit, you will be up close to the action and able to hear the players, referees, and coaches chattering.
Of course, due to the lack of stoppages in soccer, much of the atmosphere at any game is going to come from the crowd. The fans who attend can be quite involved at times and it can get quite loud after Lancers goals, but there are also moments when it is dead quiet. Nonetheless, the fans do contribute to the atmosphere here so it bears mention in this section.
Farmville is a quaint, small town, and while it’s in the middle of nowhere, there is still plenty to do here. Although there are typical chain places, your best bet is to check out the local color at places such as Walker’s Diner or Riverside Café, both of which are very close to the stadium. In fact, everything in Farmville is very close to the stadium, because it’s a very small town. Just head off campus and turn onto Main Street and just about everything will be right there.
Longwood draws a few hundred fans to a typical soccer game, which may not seem like much until you realize the capacity is only 350. This means that the bleachers are packed, fans line the concourse in their own chairs, and many sit on the hill as well. While you don’t have the constant chanting you will get at many professional and a few college venues, those in attendance are often boisterous, particularly after big Lancers plays or goals. They are not afraid to get on their own team’s case after bad plays, but when the Lancers are playing well, or even just have one big moment in an otherwise poor game, it can get loud here. The fact that the fans are packed so close together really contributes to the energy as well.
There are a few roads into Farmville, but regardless of how you get into town, you are going to have to drive quite a bit. Most likely you will end up taking either State Route 45 or U.S. Route 460, but if you’re coming from any sort of populated area, Farmville probably isn’t close to you. Lynchburg is the closest remotely large city, and it’s a full hour away. Richmond is about an hour and 15 minutes, while Washington, D.C. is about three hours.
The Longwood Athletics Complex is not actually located on the Longwood campus but rather a short drive from it. Although students will often make the walk over, if you’re driving in you will be able to park right there at the stadium. There is a small lot adjacent to it, and if it fills up, which it will if you don’t get there early, you can park on the grass behind the lot. If parking on the pavement is important to you, make sure to get there at least 45 minutes to an hour before the first game of the day, or you will be parking on grass most likely.
Restrooms are available in the back of the concourse, with additional ones in the adjacent field hockey stadium that are usually open during games. However, barring unexpected plumbing problems, you have no problems using the ones in the soccer stadium as there are never any lines.
Return on Investment 5
Admission to Lancers soccer games is free, and you won’t pay for concessions or parking either. With a great atmosphere for a college soccer game, this is an excellent value.
There are often multiple games per day in the Longwood Athletics Complex, whether that’s a women’s and men’s soccer doubleheader or a soccer game plus a field hockey game at the adjacent field. This gives fans the opportunity to see more while they are in town, and of course, it’s all free.
Although Farmville may not be the most attractive tourist destination, and Longwood may not be the most well-known university, vWhile the crowds may not be large in absolute numbers, they pack the small stadium, and often less is more. This is one of those cases – if this stadium held even a thousand fans, it would be a much different atmosphere than it is right now.