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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

George Mason Stadium – George Mason Patriots Soccer


Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57

George Mason Stadium

4400 University Drive

Fairfax, VA 22030



Year Opened: 1986

Capacity: 5,000

 

Patriot Games

The George Mason Patriots men’s soccer team plays its home games in the 5,000 seat George Mason Stadium. The venue is located in a complex which also includes the GMU Field House as well as Spuhler Field, home of the school’s baseball team. In addition to hosting soccer, George Mason Stadium hosts the Patriots’ lacrosse and track and field teams. It has previously hosted some D.C. United matches in the U.S. Open Cup and other lesser tournaments, but the team now plays those at its new stadium, Audi Field.


Food & Beverage 2

There is a university food truck parked on the north side of the stadium by the entrance during games. The options are somewhat limited. Main courses include hamburgers ($5), hot dogs ($3), chicken sandwiches ($5), and a chicken tender basket with fries for $8. Fries can be added to any of the other options for $3 and are $4 by themselves. Nachos are $5, hot pretzels are $4, chips are $2, candy and cookies are $3 each, and brownies are $4. For those looking for drinks, water is $3 while soda and Powerade are $4.


Atmosphere 2

All the seats in George Mason Stadium are on one side of the field, and are uncomfortable metal bleachers. There is a walking path and a running track separating the stands from the field, so even the front rows are far away from the action. A scoreboard is located in one corner of the field and shows corner kicks and shots on goal in addition to the basic information.


Unfortunately, Mason doesn’t really do much to keep fans engaged here. They will occasionally offer promotions like free t-shirts or wings to draw students in, but they mostly just take the free stuff and leave soon into the game, if they even stay at all. A few of them do stick around for longer than that, but not many.

Unfortunately, college soccer isn’t that big at most schools, and George Mason is no exception. There simply isn’t much going on here and the stadium is far too big for the crowds it draws.


Neighborhood 3

Fairfax is a typical suburban area about 25 miles outside Washington, D.C. There is a shopping center across campus which includes local tavern Brion’s Grille as well as several chain places and a movie theatre. If you’re willing to drive a few miles, the 29 Diner in the city of Fairfax is a local favorite as well as a team sponsor.

While Fairfax doesn’t have the same excitement you’d get in the District, it’s still a nice suburb with plenty to do and places to eat before or after the game.


Fans 2

Mason averages only a few hundred fans per game in a 5,000-seat stadium, which isn’t very good. Most of those who do show up stick around for the whole match and cheer loudly at times, but there are other moments where it’s so quiet, you can hear the coach yelling at the referee on the entire opposite side of the field. There is a small student section called the Patriot Platoon that stands behind the visiting goalkeeper, but most of them usually clear out well before the game is over.


Patriot Platoon at George Mason Stadium, Photo by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


It is disappointing to see them leave so soon, especially when the rest of the fans tend to stick around. At most college venues, the students are more passionate than the other fans, not less. While this seems to be true for Patriots soccer while the students are actually here, they are not so good about staying here.


Access 4

George Mason’s campus is about six miles off the Capital Beltway (I-495) or three miles off I-66. Once you’re on campus, ample free parking is available in the lot stretching between the Field House and Spuhler Field (with the stadium in the middle), and more parking is available on the other side of the Field House in the unlikely event it is actually needed.


Unfortunately, Mason’s campus is not easily Metro-accessible as the closest stop is Vienna, five miles away. Despite having the school name in the station’s full name (Vienna/Fairfax-GMU), getting to the stadium from there would require a 15-minute cab ride or a shuttle bus which lets you off at an entirely different part of campus. Under no circumstances should you use the Virginia Square-GMU station, as that serves Mason’s Arlington satellite campus, and is nowhere near the main campus in Fairfax.


Although there are no restrooms in the stadium itself, there are some next door in the Field House which are available during games. Just take your ticket with you or let the person at the entrance know where you’re going so you’ll be able to get back in.


Return on Investment 3

Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for youth, seniors, and Mason faculty, which is about average for college soccer. GMU students get in free, as they do to all of the school’s athletic events. Concessions are affordable but not especially so, and parking is free, so overall this is about an average cost for college soccer.


Extras 1

There are free programs available by the entrance. That is about the only extra here.


Final Thoughts

Although there are some schools in the United States where college soccer is huge, they are a small minority compared to the hundreds of schools where few people care about it. Sadly, George Mason falls into the latter category. To make matters worse, the Patriots play in a stadium which is far too big for the crowds it draws, which dampens the experience even more. Still, if you’re looking for college soccer in the D.C. area, there are only so many places you can go. Fans can easily check out all six Division I schools in the area over the course of a season if they are so inclined. For those who are fans of college soccer, or just visiting sports stadiums in general, a visit to George Mason Stadium is definitely worth it. For the more casual sports fan, there’s not much here to offer.

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