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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

ODU Soccer Complex – Old Dominion Monarchs


Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

ODU Soccer Complex 1528 W 43rd St Norfolk, VA 23529



Year Opened: 1991 Capacity: 4,000

 

Old Dominion Soccer

Located on the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, the ODU Soccer Complex is home to the Monarchs’ men’s and women’s soccer teams. The 4,000-seat stadium opened in 1991 and has played host to several conference and NCAA tournament events. During ODU’s seven seasons in Conference USA, the Soccer Complex hosted the men’s conference tournament three times and the women’s conference tournament once.


ODU won the tournament in 2014 and 2016 on their home field. The Monarchs have since joined the Sun Belt Conference as of the 2022 season.


Food & Beverage 3

The food and beverage situation at the ODU Soccer Complex is confusing at first but is somewhat unique once you figure out what is going on. There are signs for a concession stand under the bleachers, and even a menu, but this area has not been in use for a while. Instead, there is a lounge area on the far side of the field, across from the bleachers, called the Lions’ Den, where fans can buy food and drink or just hang out at the tables. Hot dogs, nachos, and sausages are all $5, peanuts and candy are $4, and chips are $3. Bottled water is $4 and soda is $5. Uniquely, alcohol is also available at the Lions’ Den although it must be drunk in this area and cannot be brought to the rest of the stadium. Domestic beer is $8, IPAs are $10, and wine is $8. Only credit cards are accepted so be prepared.


Atmosphere 4

When you walk into the ODU Soccer Complex, you will head to your left towards a large set of bleachers. All seats offer a decent view of the field, although your view of areas close to the sideline or the corners may be blocked by the back of the benches or other objects in the way. There is a large scoreboard to your right as you sit in these bleachers which also shows shots and corner kicks, and a much smaller one on the other end that is barely visible. The team does a decent job of keeping fans involved, with giveaways and stuff like that, and it is not uncommon to hear fans banging together inflatable thundersticks to create a loud noise. As in most soccer games, the fans create the atmosphere here rather than the team, and they do a pretty good job at it.


Neighborhood 3

The ODU Soccer Complex is located along a residential street so there isn’t much in the immediate vicinity. However, if you head a few blocks east on 43rd Street to the vicinity of Chartway Arena, there are many options for visitors to enjoy. La Herradura is a popular Mexican restaurant, and Del Vecchios is known for its pizza. If you make the short drive into downtown Norfolk, you will find even more options.


Fans 4

Old Dominion draws about 400 to 500 fans a match to their soccer games according to the official numbers, though it seems fuller at times. While it may not seem like much, this is typical for college soccer. Although there are always going to be friends and family of the players in attendance, most of the crowd is loyal Monarchs fans with no direct connection to the program coming out decked in their ODU gear and sporting the school colors.


The fans range from young children to older fans who have been following Monarchs athletics for years. Of course, ODU students turn out as well, although they do not sit in any organized section. No matter who they are, the fans will cheer for the Monarchs throughout the game and bang their ODU-branded inflatable thundersticks together to create a hostile atmosphere. Some of them seem to just be here to socialize in the Lions’ Den while drinking their adult beverage of choice, but most do seem to want to cheer and create a great atmosphere.


Access 3

The city of Norfolk is accessible via many highways, including I-64, I-564, I-264, and I-664. The ODU campus is easily accessible from all of them. However, if coming from points north and west of Norfolk, you will likely need to take one of the bridge-tunnels across either the harbor or the bay. These can have long backups at times, particularly later in the season as summer approaches and people start heading to the beach. Be sure to allow extra time to get across.


Once you are on campus, parking is available in Lot 43 by the field hockey stadium, about half a block from the Soccer Complex. If that fills up, which it almost certainly won’t, parking is available in the Elkhorn Avenue Garage a block and a half away.


Getting around the stadium is a bit more complicated. The concession stand is located on the opposite side of the stadium from the bleachers. Standard restrooms are available behind the bleachers near the area that purports to be a concession stand but no longer is, but to get there you have to walk all the way to the end of the bleachers and then back around no matter where in the bleachers you are sitting. This is because the only ways in and out of the bleachers are at the ends – there are no other stairs from the back concourse.


Return on Investment 4

Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $5, with the military getting in for $4 with a valid ID. ODU students get in for free. This is a pretty standard price for college soccer among venues that charge, and with this being an above-average venue, it is worth paying for. Concessions are affordable and parking is free so this is a good deal.


Extras 2

Look for the marketing table by the entrance with free posters, programs, and other giveaways.

Also check out the banners on the side of the glass building to the left of the entrance that houses the ODU locker rooms and offices. These banners honor the achievements of Old Dominion soccer through the years.


Final Thoughts

The ODU Soccer Complex is one of the nicer college soccer venues in the country. Although it is over 30 years old at this point, it feels significantly newer. More importantly, the team does a lot to get fans excited about soccer, and the fans respond in due course. The beer garden-like area that is the Lions’ Den is also a nice touch for those who are interested in that sort of thing. Overall, the ODU Soccer Complex is a gorgeous venue to take in a college soccer game and is recommended for any fan in the area.

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