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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

Meridian High School Stadium - Virginia Dream FC


Photo by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Meridian High School Stadium

121 Mustang Alley

Falls Church, VA 22043


Year Opened: N/A Capacity: 2,000

 

Soccer Dream Cloud in Falls Church

Virginia Dream FC is a semi-professional lower division soccer team based in Falls Church, Virginia, in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. The Dream play their home games at the stadium of Meridian High School, which serves the Falls Church City Public Schools (FCCPS). This stadium is also nicknamed "The Cloud" when the Dream play here, although this is not official.


As is often the case at the lower levels of American soccer, there are several teams competing under the Virginia Dream moniker. A club in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) competes during the fall and spring, while a club in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) competes over the summer. This review will focus on the experience at an NPSL game.


The NPSL, together with the UPSL and the confusingly named USL League Two, comprise the fourth division of American soccer. They are the highest level that is not fully professional, and consist mostly of current college soccer players and recent graduates. The pay is structured in a way that allows current athletes to retain their amateur eligibility if they are competing in the NPSL over the summer. However, occasionally some aging former professional who just wants to continue playing somewhere will show up in the NPSL. At the time of writing, former USMNT and DC United goalkeeper Bill Hamid is the starting goalkeeper for the Dream.


Food & Beverage 4

Concessions at a Virginia Dream game are sold out of a food truck from local taco truck La Raza. Tacos, quesadillas, burritos, nachos, and elotes (Mexican street corn) are available with a variety of meats, or with vegetables. Tacos cost $3.50 each, elotes are $5, and the other options range from $9-$13 depending on your choice of meat., Steak and cheese or chicken and cheese sandwiches are available for $12.


Various sodas are available to drink, including Jarritos, a popular Mexican brand known for their fruity flavors in glass bottles. So is bottled water.


For those with a sweet tooth, tres leches cake is available for dessert.


Atmosphere 3

Although there are bleachers on both sides of Meridian High School Stadium, fans at Dream games typically sit on the one on the same side as the entrance. Although separated from the field by a running track, these seats still have a great view of the action. There are also areas to sit on the concourse, either in your own chair or on some concrete blocks that are large enough to be used for seating. The bleachers themselves are metal without backs, although fans in the top row may be able to lean against the press box.


The PA announcer at Dream games is lively without being too over the top, and tries to keep the fans engaged. However, there is no announcement of goal scorers or recipients of yellow or red cards, which can make the game difficult to follow.


If you are attending the game with small children, game staff often roam the stands before the game looking for volunteers to serve as ball kids. If this is something your child would be interested in, get to the game early.



Neighborhood 5

Meridian High School is located on the western end of the City of Falls Church, which like all cities in Virginia, is not part of any county. It is sometimes nicknamed "The Little City" as it is much smaller in terms of population and area than the surrounding jurisdictions. In fact, by area, the census bureau considers it the smallest county-equivalent in the United States excluding some obscure areas of outlying territories. That being said, there is plenty to do here in Falls Church and the surrounding area.


Your best bet is to look along Route 7, known as Broad Street in the City of Falls Church and Leesburg Pike in the surrounding area (much of which also has a Falls Church address despite being in Fairfax County.) Mike's Lazy Sundae, located at the intersection of Haycock Road and Leesburg Pike just down the road from Meridian High School, serves ice cream, sundaes, and comfort food such as burgers and fries. (Think a similar concept to Dairy Queen, except way, way better.) Sfizi Cafe in the City of Falls Church is a popular Italian place.


Whatever food you want, you can probably find it somewhere in the surrounding area. The Falls Church area has excellent places of almost all cuisines, including Thai, Bolivian, and just about everything else. Eden Center in Seven Corners, a few miles down Route 7, is a shopping center with numerous Vietnamese restaurants, and some have said this area has the best Vietnamese food in the world outside of Vietnam. Pho 75 is located on Arlington Boulevard, not in Eden Center, but has been highly praised as well. Keep in mind many of the Vietnamese places, including Pho 75, are cash only.


Fans 2

A few dozen fans attended the Dream game that Stadium Journey visited, and considering this is the fourth division of American soccer, these are typical crowds. The crowd consisted of a mix of young families and older fans. They were not particularly involved, but this is unsurprising for this level.


Access 4

Meridian High School is located just off Route 7, near the interchanges with I-66 and I-495 (the Capital Beltway.) Parking is available for free in a lot near the entrance to the school. There is a garage as well, but this is privately owned by nearby businesses and you will have to pay. Stick to the lot. The parking lot for Virginia Tech's Northern Virginia satellite campus may appear to be closer to the stadium than the high school lot, but the area is fenced off, so you will need to walk around if you park here. It also costs money, so there is no reason to do so.


The West Falls Church Metro station on the Orange Line is located right next to the high school, although you will have to walk around a ways so it will take about 10 minutes.


Return on Investment 5

Tickets are just $10 to Virginia Dream FC games. Children under 12 get in free, as do Falls Church City Public Schools students with valid ID. This makes a Dream game an excellent value.


Extras 0

There are no real extras here.


Final Thoughts

Taking in a Virginia Dream FC game under the lights on a warm summer night is a fun experience for the whole family. While the team doesn't draw the largest crowds, one hopes that will change over time as the club builds up a following. Even so, soccer fans in Falls Church and the surrounding areas will want to head to "The Cloud" to check out a game here.

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