Thursday, July 30, 2009

Breese Stevens Field: Site of the NPSL Final Four

One of the reasons I'm excited to go up to Madison, WI for the NPSL Final Four is that I get to check out the cool old stadium hosting the event. I'm a bit of a history buff and Breese Stevens Field is an old time sports stadium originally built for Madison city athletics in 1926, and has been registered as a historic site.

The field has seen a wide variety of athletic events including serving as home to several minor league baseball teams, high school football games, midget car racing, ice skating, track and field, boxing and even wrestling matches. It's even hosted concerts and a circus.

In 1982, public outcry saved the stadium from demolition and repurposed the stadium into one of the first "soccer specific stadiums" in the country. Since then Breese has been used at times as the home field of several teams including the University of Wisconsin, Edgerwood College, and is currently the home of the NPSL's Madison 56ers.

It has some very interesting architectural features including a covered grandstand on the west end and seats just under 4900 spectators. It featured an ivy covered wall until recent necessary structural improvements forced the removal of the plants. Local referee, coach, and chairman of the committee in charge of recent restorations of the stadium, Eric Bertun, told a reporter at the time, "Breese Stevens Field is sort of the Lambeau Field or Wrigley Field of soccer in Wisconsin."

Breese also hosted the NPSL Championship in 2006. I'm really looking forward to checking this place out.

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