COLUMBUS, Ohio (Friday, September 19, 2003) - Fans at Columbus Crew Stadium for Saturday's FIFA Women's World Cup doubleheader will see the facility as it has never looked before. The finishing touches are being put on a host of new features and enhancements, which continue the recent string of capital improvements at the nation's first major-league stadium built specifically for soccer.
One of the most noticeable additions to fans will be MonumentPark, a grouping of plaque-on-stone tributes to important events and people in Crew and stadium history, created adjacent to the CrewKickerPlaza. The park, which will grow as events dictate, will be officially dedicated later this season.
"MonumentPark is a handsome and unique way to memorialize the most memorable of many memorable events in Crew Stadium's relatively brief history," Crew President/General Manager Jim Smith said. "The medium conveys strength and permanence and we look forward to adding to it as we host future marquee events, such as the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup."
MonumentPark's "founding" seven events are: the 1999 U.S. Women's Cup; the 2000 MLS All-Star Game; the two 2002 World Cup Qualifiers, in which the U.S. faced Costa Rica and Mexico, respectively; MLS Cup 2001; the 2001 NCAA Men's College Cup; and the 2002 U.S. Open Cup Championship.
Across the plaza from MonumentPark, beneath the south stands, is newly constructed locker room facility. The 4,800-square-foot building houses two lockers rooms, which can be opened to one for football, two coaches rooms and restrooms that will be accessible to the public from the plaza on non-doubleheader event days.
The stadium grounds are also home to 53 new trees and four new stone flower beds, representing another significant aesthetic upgrade. New black fencing now encloses strategic areas in the northwest quadrant of the stadium grounds, increasing security and convenience for teams and broadcast partners.
Finally, the two existing flagpoles on the north side of the stadium have been joined by four more to meet the FIFA requirement of six. The additional poles will invite new possibilities to make that end of the stadium more vibrant in the future.
"Crew Stadium has never looked better or been more functional," Smith said. "In addition to improving the facility's aesthetics, which tends to be more noticeable, by also upgrading our infrastructure we have become much more user-friendly and flexible than ever before."
The flurry of activity follows a similar one last spring, which featured the construction of the Huntington Club, Dominion Homes Kids Zone and Donatos Pizzeria and the launch of the suite upgrade program.