Progress on the new UConn soccer stadium took a big step this past week as the new turf field was installed. Women’s soccer head coach Margaret Rodriguez tweeted out a photo of the finished product:
The biggest surprise is the navy blue turf outlining the field of play, which wasn’t included in previous renderings of the stadium. However, it’s similar to that Al-Marzook Field at the University of Hartford, where both UConn teams each played their first two regular season games this past year while the new stadium on-campus was under construction.
The stadium, which will be called Joseph J. Morrone Stadium at Rizza Family Soccer Complex, is on track to be ready for the start of both teams’ seasons, though that remains up in the air due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even in the best-case scenarios, it’s unlikely that fans will be allowed into games.
The footprint of the new grounds is the same as the previous Morrone Stadium, which opened in 1969, though there are some differences. The main, larger stands were swapped to the far side of the field from Jim Calhoun Way to back up against the new performance center and the smaller stands are now permanent. Previously, UConn removed them at the end of every season.
There is also permanent seating along the south end, which used to only hold a handful of mobile bleachers. The north side remains standing-room only for the Goal Patrol but has the space to bring in temporary stands if needed. The capacity was also reduced from 5,100 seats in the old stadium to just 4,000 in the new digs.
Elsewhere, there will be permanent ticket booths located on both ends of the stadium with the main building situated at the north entrance. This building will also hold bathrooms with running water, compared to the previous facility which only featured portable toilets outside the stadium.
Though both teams played this past season at Dillon Stadium in Hartford, UConn plans to keep all its soccer games on-campus with the new stadium. While that’s been the plan all along, the Huskies’ dismal attendance in Hartford likely only solidified that notion.
The entire UConn stadium project is coming together with the new Elliot Ballpark mostly finished, the soccer stadium coming along and the performance center expected to be completed this fall. The remaining steps include a practice field at the previous site of JO Christian Field and the new softball stadium.
UConn men’s soccer is tentatively scheduled to host LIU in an exhibition on Aug. 16 with its official home opener coming against Notre Dame on Aug. 29. The women’s soccer schedule has yet to be released. The Huskies’ women’s lacrosse team will also use the stadium for their season, which runs from February to May.