Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Yurcak Field 83 Fitch Rd Piscataway, NJ 08854
Year Opened: 1994
Located on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, Yurcak Field (pronounced with a soft c) is a 5,000-seat stadium that is home to the Scarlet Knights men’s and women’s soccer teams. The stadium opened in 1994 and is one of the elite college soccer venues in the country. In addition to Rutgers soccer, the stadium hosted the Scarlet Knights’ lacrosse teams until 2013, played host to NJ/NY Gotham of the National Women’s Soccer League until 2019, and hosted several early-round US Open Cup matches of the team then known as the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls) before they got their own stadium in Harrison.
This review will focus on the experience at Rutgers women’s soccer games, although it is likely similar on the men’s side.
Food & Beverage 3
There is one concession stand at Yurcak Field which serves a decent selection of options. The only meals are hot dogs and chicken tenders (the latter of which comes with fries.) Coca-cola soft drinks and bottled water are available, as are chips, candy, hot pretzels, and popcorn. Prices are affordable with nothing costing more than $5 or so, and credit cards are accepted.
Just walking into Yurcak Field, you will get the feeling that this is a school that really cares about college soccer. Directly in front of you as you walk through the stadium gates will be giant banners honoring great Rutgers players and teams of years past. The bleachers will be straight ahead or to your left depending on how close to midfield you want to sit, and concession stands and restrooms are to your left as well. If crowds get large, there may be additional lawn seating on the berm area on the far side. There is a large scoreboard behind the left goal which also shows other statistics, but it was for some reason not in use during the game Stadium Journey attended. Instead, there was a small portable scoreboard below it which was clearly not designed for soccer as it purported to show the “quarter” (soccer uses halves) and the timeouts remaining for each team (which isn’t a thing in soccer.)
As is typically the case in soccer, much of the energy here comes from the fans themselves due to few breaks in the action and lack of opportunity for the PA announcer or others to get the fans pumped up. The Scarlet Knights fans create a wall of red that can be quite imposing for visiting teams, and it enhances the atmosphere tremendously.
While driving to Rutgers, keep in mind that the “campus” is actually five separate campuses throughout Piscataway and New Brunswick, College Avenue, Busch, Livingston, Cook, and Douglass. (This should not be confused with the two regional campuses in Newark and Camden which are completely separate institutions.) Just set your GPS to “Rutgers University” and hoping to find the field from there can put you on the completely wrong campus.
Piscataway is a sleepy college town in northern New Jersey and you will find a few options here such as Henry’s Diner near the basketball arena and some of the best pizza places in the country. No reason to get Pizza Hut or Papa John’s here, it’s far better to pick up a real Jersey slice.
Fans may also be interested in grabbing a Fat Sandwich from R U Hungry at the corner of Hamilton Street and College Avenue in New Brunswick. While the grease trucks serving these legendary sandwiches once dotted Rutgers’ College Avenue campus and they were thought of as the school’s quintessential food, most of these trucks have been shut down as the university constructed new buildings, relocated the trucks, and ultimately declined to renew their permits. R U Hungry, which was the original fat sandwich vendor, now serves them out of a more traditional storefront location. Fat sandwiches consist of sub rolls topped with seemingly random combinations of toppings. The original Fat Cat has a double cheeseburger, lettuce, tomato, French fries, mayo, and ketchup, and the combinations just get weirder from there. For example, the Fat Elvis comes with gyro meat, mozzarella sticks, lettuce, tomato, French fries, and white sauce, certainly a bizarre combination. There are many others with fun names such as the Fat Darrell, the Fat Koko, and at least one whose name violates the editorial standards of this website. As you can probably guess by the name, these sandwiches are loaded with calories and are not for the faint of heart (figuratively or literally.)
As mentioned above, the red wall of Scarlet Knights fans at Yurcak Field creates a tremendous, lively atmosphere. For a typical home game, the stands will be packed with fans wearing scarlet and silver and cheering Rutgers on to victory. The crowd is boisterous and passionate and it can get quite loud at big moments or after Rutgers scores a goal. At many schools, college soccer does not have a huge following, but here at Rutgers, it has a dedicated and loyal fan base that is one of the best in the country.
This is the only area where Yurcak Field does not excel. Parking is in a large dirt lot (not even gravel) next to the stadium. However, there is nobody directing traffic and no marked spaces so fans basically park wherever they want. This can create chaos after the game as drivers return to their cars to find themselves boxed in, often with multiple cars on either side of them, and have to wait for others to come out and move their cars. The parking situation here needs significant improvement, unfortunately.
Getting around the stadium itself is easy enough, with wide concourses and ample restrooms, but just getting into and out of the stadium is a giant mess and brings this rating down significantly.
Return on Investment 5
Admission to Scarlet Knights soccer games at Yurcak Field is free. Considering this is a tremendous atmosphere and one of the top college soccer venues in the country, this is a great value. Parking is free, even if it is chaotic, and concessions are affordable too. Note that there may be a charge for admission for Big Ten and NCAA Tournament games as this is set by the organizers, not the school.
The giant banners as you enter the stadium are definitely worthy of an extra here.
Rutgers soccer has some of the best fans in the NCAA and that is worthy of a star as well.
A third and final star for the various promotions and giveaways the Scarlet Knights have throughout the season, ranging from Disney Day, where fans are encouraged to dress up as their favorite Disney characters, to giveaways such as mini soccer balls and headbands.
Yurcak Field is an elite college soccer venue, and the best part is, that attending a game here is totally free other than whatever you spend on concessions. With great crowds, great fan experiences, and a whole lot of effort put into making a great atmosphere, a Rutgers soccer game at Yurcak Field is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening.