USL Championship’s Monterey Bay FC launched a new era for the squad on the campus of CSU Monterey Bay, where Cardinale Stadium renovations were unveiled in the team’s home opener.
The former Freeman Field benefits from a naming-rights deal with Cardinale Auto Group. A synthetic turf field will be installed as part of the $11 million renovation process, and seating when all is said and done is around 6,000.
The stadium dates back to the Fort Ord days and has been rarely used, save for college graduations. The renovations to Freeman Stadium were privately financed by owner Ray Beshoff and other investors, and the facility will become the home of CSUMB men’s and women’s soccer programs.
The Cardinale Stadium renovations are still a work in progress. The stadium’s opening came with a section of bleachers still needing to be installed–in its stead, a SRO section–but fans got to see a revamped facility with new lights, a new videoboard and new synthetic turf. From the Monterey Herald:
A stadium, surrounded on the outside by 80-plus-year-old Monterey Pines, has watched soldiers march through the same gates as fans, students from high schools and colleges graduate. Now professional soccer grace its insides.
A festive and charged-up crowd sensed the moment had arrived. A diverse gathering of all ages sat, stood and yelled, signaling the rebirth of a stadium whose soul never left.
It took less than a minute for the first boos to cascade at an opponent’s actions, followed by the first of numerous “Let’s Go Union” chants.