Audi Field – Washington Spirit
Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Audi Field 100 Potomac Avenue SW Washington, DC 20024
Year Opened: 2018
Catch the Spirit
The Washington Spirit are a charter member of the National Women’s Soccer League, beginning play in the inaugural 2013 season. From 2013 to 2017, the Spirit played all their home games at the Maryland Soccerplex in Boyds, Maryland, but as the popularity of women’s soccer in the United States grew, they began to outgrow the 4,000-seat venue.
In 2018 and 2019, the Spirit played most of their games at the Plex but played a handful in downtown Washington, D.C. at Audi Field, also home of MLS team D.C. United. For 2020, the plan was to play four games each at the SoccerPlex, Audi Field, and Segra Field in Leesburg, Virginia, before permanently moving out of the Plex in 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were unable to follow through with their plans in 2020 but split their time between Segra Field and Audi Field in 2021 and 2022. Beginning in 2023, the Spirit plays all home games at Audi Field.
Food & Beverage 3
Audi Field offers a wide range of concession items, although this ranking does come down a point because not all of them are always open for Spirit games. In addition to classic options such as burgers, chicken tenders, and pizza, fans can pick from more unique options such as pupusas and arepas/ Soda, bottled water, and beer are also available for fans to drink. Prices are very high given this is an MLS venue, but discounts are available on some items if you use Apple Pay.
Other than the Supporters’ Section (more on that later), every seat at Audi Field is a chairback. There are two levels plus suites, although the upper level is typically closed for Spirit games unless they are expecting a large crowd. There is a large video board behind the Supporters’ Section, although fans on that side of the field will have to turn around to look at it as there is nothing on the other side except for a small board that shows the score, game clock, advertisements, and nothing else.
The Spirit has a mascot, an eagle named PK, and does a lot to promote the atmosphere during the game, ranging from on-field contests at halftime to giveaways at the gate. Before each match, the teams walk onto the field flanked by pillars of smoke, setting the stage for what is to come.
As is normally the case in soccer, the real energy here comes from the fans. The Supporters' Section is located behind the north goal, and members of the various Supporters' Groups will stand, bang drums, and cheer for the full 90 minutes. Other fans get into it as well, with chants being heard throughout the game. This makes a Spirit game an electric atmosphere.
Audi Field is located in an up-and-coming part of D.C., near Buzzard Point. There is currently a lot of construction going on around the stadium, so expect it to improve even more in the future. For now, All About Burger is a popular local burger place located a few blocks from the stadium, and there are other options closer to Nationals Park such as Mission and The Salt Line.
Of course, you are in Washington, D.C., so there is plenty to do if you head towards the National Mall, and much of it is free. Just keep in mind if you want to tour the White House or Capitol, you will need to book that in advance.
As noted above, the Washington Spirit has an outstanding fan base. There are four core Supporters' Groups at Spirit games, located behind the north goal. They stand for the entire game, banging drums, waving flags, and starting chants urging their team to victory. The Spirit Squadron was the original Supporters' Group, supporting the team since its inception.
Rose Room Collective was created by and for people of color, while 202 Unique aims to support LGBTQ fans and their allies. Buzzard Point Social is an up-and-coming group that has entered the Supporters' scene in the past few years. Although the groups each have their own members and target audience, they join together to support the Spirit on matchday and are a major part of the experience here.
The other fans help bring the energy too, joining in with the Supporters or even starting their chants. When the Spirit scores, expect the whole crowd to rise to its feet and make Audi Field extremely loud. Supporter's culture is a big part of soccer, and it is great to see the Spirit finally getting the love they deserve.
When going to Audi Field, your best bet is to use public transit or a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft. If taking the Metro, take the Green Line to Navy Yard-Ballpark and walk about ten minutes to the stadium. If arriving at the stadium by car (whether one driven by you or an Uber/Lyft driver) there is a lot of construction surrounding the stadium right now so it may be hard to figure out how to get right there, although an Uber/Lyft driver should be able to get you close.
Parking is very limited and can be purchased in advance through SpotHero, but the cheapest spots will cost about $25 and can be located a 15-minute walk from the stadium. To get closer will cost you twice that. There is no dedicated stadium parking lot like there was at Segra or the SoccerPlex. A limited amount of metered street parking is available but arrive early if you want to park close.
Restrooms are located throughout the concourse and are of a more than sufficient size for the crowds. Closed caption boards show PA announcements, but do not show Supporters' chants like at some other soccer stadiums. These are a major part of the soccer experience, and it is disappointing that they are not accessible for all to experience.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets start at $15 for seats in high rows in the corners or behind the goals and go up to $65 for seats near midfield or even more for suites. Just keep in mind if you buy the cheap seats that the Supporters Section is behind the north goal and that area is safe standing only, so you will be standing for the full 90 minutes. You may also have your view obstructed by waving flags at times. However, there are plenty of other $15 seats available if this is not your thing.
Concessions can also get expensive because this is an MLS venue, but the food is good. Given the matchday experience is spectacular, a Spirit game is a great value, although the Ticketmaster fees are frustrating.
One bonus star for the tremendous energy brought by the various Supporters' Groups and other fans. They are a major part of the matchday experience here.
A second star for all the outreach the Spirit does with youth soccer leagues in the area. Bringing kids to watch a game in a stadium many of them dream of playing at someday is a great opportunity to grow the sport, and you will find many such groups in attendance at any given game.
A third star for the children's play area on the east concourse, open before the match with activities for the kids.
A fourth and final star for the team store located in a tent outside the DC United club shop. It would be nice to see the Spirit get equal billing and not be relegated to a temporary tent, but that is outside the team's control, unfortunately.
Women's soccer has been steadily growing in the United States for many years, and the Washington Spirit is no exception. Fans are turning out to watch them in record numbers, and there is an excitement surrounding this team that has never been seen before. The team recently decided to play all its home games at Audi Field, something that should have been done a long time ago. A Washington Spirit game has rapidly become a must-see experience for any soccer fans in the DC area.