Friday marks the debut of a new facility in USL Championship, as Loudoun United FC will play its first match at Segra Field.
Owned by MLS’s D.C. United, Loudoun United began play in the Division II circuit this season as an expansion club. Establishing the club is part of a larger plan for D.C. United in suburban Loudoun County VA, where the organization is building a training complex at Philip A. Bolen Park. The anchor of that complex is a new 5,000-seat stadium that will host home matches for Loudoun United.
Plans for United’s 2019 launch were announced last July, but it was not until September that Loudoun County supervisors approved construction for the project. The stadium could not be completed by the start of the USL Championship season this spring, so United revealed early this year that it would target an August opening and play most of its matches on the road until the new facility was completed.
That plan is ultimately coming to fruition, as United will open the stadium with Friday’s match against the Charlotte Independence.
Named Segra Field—the result of a partnership with fiber bandwidth company Segra—the new stadium will seat 5,000 and include eight luxury suites. Along with hosting soccer matches, Segra Field is being billed as a new venue for community events, meaning that it should be active beyond the standard 17-game USL Championship home schedule.
For USL Championship, this marks the latest example of an MLS club constructing a new stadium within a training complex for Division II soccer and other events. One example that came last season was in Herriman, Utah, where Real Salt Lake placed its USL club—Real Monarchs—in a new stadium located in the Zions Bank Real Academy. With this facility model, organizations can ensure that their lower-division clubs play in a stadium that is up to standard and can be used for other events, thus allowing their training academies to play larger roles in the community.
In Loudoun United’s case, it is going to have plenty of exposure to Segra Field over the coming weeks. Friday will mark the first of 12 home games for United between now and the end of the USL Championship season this fall, with the final home match of the 2019 season scheduled for October 19.
For D.C. United, the opening of Segra Field is notable in several respects. Its arrival serves as a sign of progress for the training complex, which will not only provide a boost to the organization’s soccer operations but also give it a larger presence in a Northern Virginia suburb that has long been eyed for professional sports (including previously unrealized attempts to launch soccer and baseball clubs). It also furthers an agenda for D.C. United to improve its facilities from top to bottom, coming after last summer’s opening of Audi Field for the MLS side in Washington’s Buzzard Point neighborhood.
Rendering courtesy Loudoun United.