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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

Phoenix Rising Soccer Stadium - Phoenix Rising FC


Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Phoenix Rising Soccer Stadium 3801 E Washington St Phoenix, AZ 85034


Year Opened: 2023 Capacity: 10,000

 

Rising As One

Phoenix Rising FC is a soccer club in the USL-C, the second level of soccer in the United States, one step below Major League Soccer (MLS). The club began operation in 2014 as the Arizona United SC and rebranded as Phoenix Rising FC in 2017. The team has been quite successful the last few years, clinching the USL Championship regular season title in 2019. They made it to the Championship playoff finals in 2108 and 2020 (which unfortunately got cancelled because of COVID) and the playoff quarterfinals in 2021.


The club has called several venues their home, including two Cactus League spring training sites during their years as the Arizona United SC. The 2023 season saw them move to their third soccer-specific stadium since 2017, after previously playing in Wild Horse Pass Chandler stadium for two years. The Rising's deal at Wild Horse Pass ended, and ownership wanted to be in central Phoenix. A new site near the airport was available and on a Valley Metro line, so ownership packed up the old stadium and placed the infrastructure in almost the exact same configuration as the previous Chandler site. They moved the seating structures, the scoreboard, the press/media box, the ticket office, locker rooms, and the training field and added another building for front office staff, storage, etc.


Attending a match is an enjoyable evening out. We recommend going in the early spring or fall as Phoenix temperatures are more comfortable during those times of the soccer season.


Food & Beverage 4

The concession offerings of food trucks and concession kiosks have plenty for soccer fans to treat themselves. The food points of sale are on the grounds outside the stadium seating area (except VIP sections), with stalls on the east, north, and west sides. Some picnic tables are placed around the outside concourse for fans to enjoy their refreshments.


The most popular concession stand is the PrimeTime Grill just inside the east entrance. It offers five baskets: chicken tender, chicken sandwich, burger, hot dog, and pulled pork (served with kettle chips), and prices range from $11 - $14.50. Fries and nachos are also served ($6 - $16). Season ticket holders get a discounted rate.

Be sure to walk around and check out the other kiosks which include but are not limited to:


Lemonade and Kettle Corn, Ben’s Soft Pretzels, and Bahama Bucks Shaved Ice ($7 - $10). Bahama Bucks offers a few sugar-free flavors. Bro’s Seafood has crab and lobster rolls, fish and chips, and other seafood dishes costing $13 - $26. I had the shrimp tacos, and they were fabulous.


A few alcohol-only stands line the concourse. Beers, wine, and seltzers (canned) run $8 - $13.75 with canned cocktails costing $13.75. Coke products are $5.75 a bottle. The stadium offers a happy hour where drinks are discounted by $2 for the first hour after the gates open.


Atmosphere 3

I was expecting a bit more with the new stadium. The game day experience is not quite as nice as at the old one. However, the organization does a good job of providing a family-friendly environment with passionate but not unruly fans.


Inside the stadium, seating is on all four sides of the pitch. Field level seats, some with hi-top tables, line the pitch perimeter. The venue offers other premium, roof top, and VIP seats.


Most of the seats are grey fold-down seats raised above the ground level, with no arms or cupholders. These seats are more comfortable than they look. The rows are long (28 seats across), so if you’re a fan who needs to get up often during the match, choose seats closer to the aisles (1 - 4 or 24 -28) to prevent disrupting other fans. The raised seats behind the goals are general admission (bleachers with no backs). Sit on the east side for a nice sunset view. All seats are close to the pitch so watching the game provides an up-close view of the action.


Minimal handicapped seats are available behind each goal. The stadium is not equipped well for fans who can’t walk up steps easily. The ADA lift/elevator was broken the day Stadium Journey visited; there was no indication of when it was going to be repaired. I recommend calling the team in advance to see if it is working.

The venue has a huge scoreboard on the south end. It shows the score, half, and time with some videos and advertisements and is crisp, clear, and easily read. The scoreboard does not offer closed captioning. The music volume is fine; it is easy to converse with your neighbor without having to yell over the music. Even better, they turn the music off when announcing the starting lineup. Nice job!


Player Introductions and Flags of Player's Home Country, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


Unfortunately, The Park area (a field where kids ran around and played) that was at the old stadium is not available at this new location. The concourse has a few kid’s play areas near the souvenir shop that many young ones gravitate to.


Neighborhood 2

A run-down Park ‘n Swap flea market, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, and Gateway College are the stadium’s neighbors. It’s not unsafe, but it’s not pleasing to the eye. The neighborhood from the train station does not have a place to stop for a beer or a bite to eat.


For hotels, a Hilton Garden Inn is visible from Phoenix Rising Soccer Stadium (a little less than a mile’s walk). A Crown Plaza Hotel is a mile’s walk. The stadium is near the airport so plenty of hotels are close but may not be within walking distance.


Other sports to see nearby include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury, and Arizona Rattlers (all just three stops away on the light rail).


Fans 4

Phoenix Rising FC has two strong supporter groups, Los Banditos and Union 602. Drums, flags waving, colored smoke, singing, clapping, jumping up and down – they have it all. Most supporters sit in the south end zone, under the scoreboard, an area designated just for them.


Lots and lots of kids and youth soccer clubs attend matches. You’ll see a whole host of families and friends in attendance. The fans are engaged in the play on the pitch. And, you certainly know when the crowd disagrees with the referee’s calls.


The fans make attending the match a comfortable sporting event where all visitors are accepted.


Attendance is strong at Phoenix Rising FC matches, with the club ranking in the USL-C top five to ten in attendance the last few seasons with an average of 6,600 – 7,000 fans. So far in 2023, average attendance records are close to 8,000 per match.


Access 3

Phoenix Rising Stadium is in Central Phoenix next to Sky Harbor Airport. Fans can take the Valley Metro Light Rail to the 38th Street and Washington stop, then walk 1/3 mile or so to the stadium. While this is convenient, the short walk is across asphalt with absolutely no shade or places to rest. The walk is tough during the summer months.


Phoenix Rising Soccer Stadium from Light Rail, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


More than five parking lots are on site with entrances from 37th St and 38th St. The club is now charging for parking (free for season ticket holders) and it must be purchased in advance. The cost for parking is $5 (plus tax), or $10 (plus tax) if purchased on game day. Tailgating is allowed at three of the parking lots.


The team also has a Pub2Pitch transport shuttle where fans go to select bars, and buses take them to/from the matches. That’s a pretty slick service.


Fans walk through metal detectors upon entry. Fans in line told me getting through security is hit or miss. Clear sports bags are allowed, and tickets are digital.


Restrooms are undesirable. The steps up to the restrooms are high and the banisters are wobbly. The stalls are maybe an inch bigger than those in airplanes and have a similar flush function. I saw one uninviting wheelchair-accessible restroom and no family restrooms.


The stadium is not conducive for those with mobility issues.


I didn’t see a guest services tent though the website says they have one.


Return on Investment 3

Single game tickets run $25 - $53 and are comparable, if a little higher than other USL-C teams. The bleacher tickets start at around $25 (plus tax) and run up to $200 for field seats. Midfield and sideline seats run $30 - $53. All seating is close to the pitch so you’ll get a good view no matter where you sit.


Parking is $5 - $10 which adds an additional expense compared to the club’s previous venues. Taking the light rail saves you a few bucks as your Phoenix Rising FC ticket includes a ride on the light rail. It’s a good choice if you drink alcoholic beverages at the match.


The stadium’s food prices are similar to other professional sports venues in the area. The drinks and beer are priced lower. Get there early and beer is $2 less. Visitors can bring in two sealed bottles of water per person. Fans definitely need those at matches in warmer months.


The club provides all kinds of specials and theme nights, including a $1 beer night, discounted tickets for military and military appreciation night, NAU family four pack, Christmas in July, Back 2 School night, and more. Be sure to check their website and social media for specials and deals.

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Extras 3

The many theme nights and specials deserve an extra mention. Moving the club closer to central Phoenix is certainly a draw to more fans in the metro area. The front of the west stands proudly display the flags of the players' countries of origin.


Final Thoughts

Going to and watching professional soccer matches is on the rise in Arizona. Phoenix Rising FC does a decent job at providing an enjoyable, crowd-pleasing, and safe sports entertainment evening. The new soccer stadium is a good place for fans across Arizona to visit and watch a winning soccer club.


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