PhotosLocation


Starfire_Sports Latitude and Longitude:

47°28′11″N 122°14′54″W / 47.46972°N 122.24833°W / 47.46972; -122.24833
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Starfire Sports Stadium
A soccer field with a single-tier grandstand
The stadium's playing field pictured in 2009
Former namesFort Dent Park
Starfire Sporting Complex
Starfire Sports Complex
Location6840 Fort Dent Way
Tukwila, Washington, U.S.
OwnerStarfire Sports
OperatorStarfire Sports
Capacity4,500 (main stadium)
Surface5 grass fields
7 outdoor FieldTurf fields (inc. stadium)
2 indoor FieldTurf fields
Construction
Broke groundJune 20, 2003
OpenedApril 23, 2005
Construction cost$10 million USD
Architect HOK Sport
Tenants

Starfire Sports is a multi-purpose stadium and sporting facility in Tukwila, Washington, United States. It is located on the banks of the Green River, just south of Seattle. The stadium is operated by the nonprofit corporation Starfire Sports and is home to several soccer and rugby teams. At the time of its opening, CEO Chris Slatt claimed it was "the largest synthetic-turf soccer complex in the U.S." [1]

From 2008 to 2024, Seattle Sounders FC of MLS has had offices and training facilities at the complex, whose main stadium hosted the Sounders' second-division incarnation in 2008 and has since staged the team's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches. The Sounders' affiliate team, the Tacoma Defiance, played at Starfire from 2015 to 2017 and has returned for select games starting in 2022. The Sounders vacated the Starfire complex in favor of a new facility at Longacres in nearby Renton, Washington, which opened in 2024. [2] [3]

Starting in February 2023, Seattle-based Seattle Reign FC of the National Women's Soccer League will use the Starfire complex for training facilities as the complex's primary tenant, having previously played home games there for their 2013 season. [4] [5]

The Seattle franchise of Major League Rugby, the Seattle Seawolves, began play at Starfire Sports in spring 2018. [6]

History

The site was formerly Fort Dent Park, operated by King County. In addition to the existing grass soccer fields, the park included a cricket pitch and softball fields in the areas now occupied by artificial-surface soccer fields. [7] [8] Severe budget cuts in 2002 led the county to schedule the closing of this park, among others, at the end of the year; however, parks located within municipal boundaries were offered to those cities. [9] That offer sparked the formation of Starfire Sports by Slatt, Steve Beck, and Mark Bickham, who negotiated a 40-year lease with Tukwila to allow them to build and operate the complex. [1] This would relieve the city of an estimated $500,000 in annual maintenance costs which would likely have caused it to refuse the county’s offer had Starfire not stepped in. [7] Starfire plans to cover operating and maintenance costs through user fees and advertising banners and hopes to retire the $10 million construction costs over the course of several years. [10]

New construction included four lighted outdoor soccer fields with FieldTurf, including the stadium with its 2000-seat grandstand, along with the indoor facility.

Beginning in summer 2004, English Premier League powerhouse Manchester United offered training at Starfire as part of their Soccer Schools program. This came to an end in December 2007. [11] In the late 2000s, the complex was proposed as the site of a larger 28,000-seat venue that would host a Major League Soccer expansion team. [12] Starfire was instead chosen as the training grounds for the expansion team awarded to Seattle Sounders FC.

The city of Tukwila still maintains a wooded part of the 54-acre (220,000 m2) site as a public park. [13] An expansion was unanimously approved by city leaders in a public hearing at the beginning of 2008 for the offices and training facilities of Seattle Sounders FC. [8] The team's practice fields replaced four existing softball fields on the campus. [2]

Facilities

Seattle Seawolves vs San Diego Legion during the 2022 MLR Playoffs

Starfire features fields for indoor and outdoor soccer, and occasionally rugby union games, as well as a 4,500-seat soccer stadium. In 2004, the stadium field became only the eighth American artificial-surface pitch to earn "recommended" status by FIFA and was thereby sanctioned for international play. [14]

The complex has an indoor facility which has two indoor soccer FieldTurf fields. It also hosts administrative offices, a Mad Pizza restaurant, and a game room for children.

The expansion undertaken by the complex in 2008 also included new fields along with a workout and fitness area for the Sounders FC, as well as offices for the coaching and technical staff. To retain its community-based programs and accessibility, these areas and the fields have some public access. [8] The team opened part of its training sessions to the public and allowed fans to greet players on walks between the training facility and practice fields. [2] During the Copa América Centenario in 2016, temporary windscreens and privacy barriers were installed for visiting national teams, including Argentina. [2]

Tenants and events

The complex's main stadium, which seats 4,500 spectators, has been used by several professional soccer teams and for other sports. Among them were the USL incarnation of the Seattle Sounders, Seattle Reign FC of the NWSL, Seattle Sounders Women of the W-League, [15] As of 2023, it hosts Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer for US Open Cup matches, Tacoma Defiance of MLS Next Pro, and Seattle Seawolves of Major League Rugby. It was also the home of Hibernian and Caledonian F.C. and FK Pacific of the Pacific Coast Soccer League.[ citation needed] Additionally, the complex hosts the annual All Nations Cup, played by local teams representing their nationalities. [16]

Starfire hosted the 2023 USL League Two Final between Ballard FC and Lionsbridge FC, which was played on August 5, 2023, in front of 3,416 spectators. Ballard FC won 2–1. [17]

International rugby

Date Teams Competition Attendance
March 2, 2019 United States  25–32   Uruguay 2019 Americas Rugby Championship
March 8, 2019 United States  30–25   Canada 2019 Americas Rugby Championship

References

  1. ^ a b Massey, Matt (October 22, 2003). "Tukwila soccer fields to be ready late next month". The Seattle Times. p. D4. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Evans, Jayda (February 12, 2024). "Sounders bid bittersweet farewell to Starfire training facility: 'It's been a good home for us'". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  3. ^ Oshan, Jeremiah (January 6, 2022). "Sounders will soon unveil plans to move training facility to Longacres". Sounder at Heart. Vox Media. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  4. ^ "OL Reign to Begin Training at Starfire Sports in 2023" (Press release). OL Reign. October 20, 2022. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  5. ^ Cristobal, Jacob (October 20, 2022). "OL Reign have found their training facility in Starfire Sports Complex". Sounder at Heart. Vox Media. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  6. ^ "Seattle Seawolves Rugby Football Club home games will be played at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington". www.seattleseawolves.com. Retrieved November 9, 2017. [ dead link]
  7. ^ a b "Cricket team makes a pitch to save the pitch", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 11, 2003
  8. ^ a b c Romero, José Miguel (August 24, 2008). "Sounders FC developing headquarters, practice facility at Starfire". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  9. ^ "Pssst, cities: Want to take over a park that's run by King County?", The Seattle Times, March 29, 2002
  10. ^ "Doomed park gets a new lease; local soccer gets much-needed kick", The Seattle Times, July 22, 2004
  11. ^ Star Fire Sports Training Archived December 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Mesiner, Jeff (July 8, 2007). "Private pro soccer talks stall". Puget Sound Business Journal. Archived from the original on August 5, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2022.
  13. ^ "Fort Dent has new stewards", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 11, 2003
  14. ^ "Starfire Sports receives FIFA nod", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 29, 2004
  15. ^ Seattle Sounders Women at starfiresports.com
  16. ^ Mayers, Joshua (July 29, 2007). "Tournament scores for local soccer fans". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  17. ^ Evans, Jayda (August 5, 2023). "Ballard FC prevails in a thrilling USL League Two final". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 6, 2023.

47°28′11″N 122°14′54″W / 47.46972°N 122.24833°W / 47.46972; -122.24833