City Stadium - Richmond Kickers
Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
City Stadium 3201 Maplewood Ave Richmond, VA 23221
Year Opened: 1929 Capacity: 22,611
Kicking It In Richmond
The Richmond Kickers were founded in 1993 as a member of what was then known as the United States Interregional Soccer League (USISL). Although top division soccer has enjoyed stability in the United States for the past 20-plus years with the success of MLS, the lower divisions have not. This has meant the Kickers have bounced from league to league and level to level in various incarnations of the USISL and its successor, the United Soccer League. In 2019, the USL was renamed the USL Championship, with another league below it, which rather confusingly was named USL League One. While the vast majority of USL teams stayed in the Championship, the Kickers moved down to League One, where they remain to this day.
The official capacity of City Stadium is 22,611. However, this includes the east stands, which have not been in use for some time due to needed upgrades that have not been performed.
Food & Beverage 3
The concession situation at City Stadium is a bit confusing. There is a permanent concession stand on the concourse, but only drinks are sold here. Coca-Cola products, including bottled water, are around $3 each, and beer is $6.50 for a 16 oz or $11.50 for a 32 oz. If you want something to eat, there are food trucks located in one corner of the concourse – turn left as you come in and go all the way down. One truck sells Chick-fil-A, one sells burritos and other similar products, and the third sells shaved ice. There is also a Dippin Dots stand on the other end of the concourse, which also sells cotton candy and popcorn. Prices at the food trucks are a bit pricey but well worth it. The Chick-fil-A is a less expensive option if you want to save money, but you get what you pay for.
There is one entrance to City Stadium, on the west side. Once you enter, you will find stands on both sidelines, but the ones on the east (far) sideline are not in use due to needed repairs. On the near sideline, all seats are general admission bleachers without backs except one section of reserved chairbacks bolted onto the bleachers at midfield, which are reserved for season ticket holders. There is one digital scoreboard that theoretically shows shots on goal as well, but when we went, that remained at zero for both teams for the whole game, even as they recorded multiple shots on goals and the Kickers even scored twice.
Being a minor league team, the club tries to entertain fans, but since there are no breaks other than halftime, this is harder than it would be at a minor league baseball game. However, they still do a good job, rolling the stadium lights during pregame and after goals. There are also contests during halftime. The Kickers have a kangaroo mascot named Kickeroo, who interacts with the fans during the game.
Although City Stadium is located in a residential neighborhood, it is a short walk from the Carytown section of Richmond, where one can find numerous businesses and restaurants. Carytown Burges & Fries is one local favorite, as is the Galaxy Diner. Both are a short walk from the stadium. Fans looking for a drink before or after the game should have no trouble finding it near the stadium. Garden Grove Brewing is located on Cary St., and many other restaurants will serve alcohol as well. However, true bars (i.e. places which primarily serve alcohol) violate Virginia’s alcohol laws, so you will not find any of those here.
Those looking for other entertainment while in town can check out the Byrd Theatre, also in Carytown. History buffs might enjoy the numerous Civil War sites located in and around Richmond, which was of course the former capital of the Confederacy and played a major role in the war.
Like many soccer teams, the Kickers have a group of rowdy Supporters (yes, Supporters with a capital S) known as the Red Army, who sit in Section O for each game. But “sit” is not the right word here, because the Red Army will stand for 90 minutes, chanting, singing, waving flags, and banging drums. They also use smoke periodically, which makes for an impressive display, but fans who are sensitive to that sort of thing should try to avoid sitting near them.
The Red Army is the most passionate of the Kickers fans by far, but the rest of the crowd can get into it at times as well. The stadium can get loud during the game, especially after a Kickers goal. Fans will cheer on the Kickers and will not hesitate to boo the referees if they feel a call went the wrong way.
City Stadium is located just off the Downtown Expressway (I-195) in Richmond. Simply exit the highway, drive a couple of blocks, and you’re there. Free parking is available in a gravel lot and rarely fills up, but if worst comes to worst, ample street parking is available within walking distance of the stadium. Just make sure to obey all street signs.
Once you enter the stadium, there is ample space to move around the concourse. Lines at the concession stand and food truck don’t generally get too long, but to avoid waiting on line, it’s best if you arrive early. Restrooms are located in both corners of the west side concourse and are of ample size to handle even the largest crowds.
One thing to keep in mind when traveling to City Stadium is that many GPS apps will take you to the wrong side when you are looking for the parking lot. The main entrance to the parking lot is off Freeman Road, and there is also a VIP entrance off Maplewood Avenue. McCloy Street puts you on the wrong side of the stadium, but some apps will take you there anyway.
Getting out of the lot after the game can take some time, especially if you don’t park near the entrance, but the highway is only a couple blocks away and once you get on, it should be smooth sailing.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets are $18 for general admission seats anywhere except the center chairbacks. However, fans also have the option of joining a program called Kickers+ for $59. In addition to other benefits such as a discount at the club shop and free jersey customizations, fans who join Kickers+ can get 50% off up to four tickets per game for the whole season. If you plan on taking a family of four to multiple games, this can be an opportunity to save money as it will lower the ticket price to just $9 each. Concessions can be pricey, but there are more affordable options available if you want lower-quality food. Throw in the free parking and a visit to a Kickers game is a great value.
There is a trailer on the concourse which serves as a club shop and sells Kickers gear to fans. A second star goes to the Red Army and the energy they bring to the stadium.
Although City Stadium is showing its age, it’s still an exciting place to watch a match. Despite the instability in USL with levels changing and leagues being renamed on an almost yearly basis, City Stadium is still a great place to watch a Kickers game.