Starfire Sports

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Starfire Sports Stadium
A soccer field with a single-tier grandstand
Former names Fort Dent Park
Starfire Sporting Complex
Starfire Sports Complex
Location 6840 Fort Dent Way
Tukwila, WA, 98188
Broke ground June 20, 2003
Opened April 23, 2005
Owner Starfire Sports
Operator Starfire Sports
Surface 5 grass fields
7 outdoor FieldTurf fields (inc. stadium)
2 indoor FieldTurf fields
Architect HOK Sport
Capacity 4,500 (at main stadium)
Tenants
Seattle Sounders (USL-1) (2002-2008)
Seattle Sounders Women (W-League) (2003-Present)
FK Pacific (PCSL) (2003-2007)
Hibernian & Caledonian (PCSL) (2004-2006)
Seattle Reign FC (NWSL) (2013)

Starfire Sports is a sporting facility in Tukwila, Washington, on the banks of the Green River, near Seattle. It is operated by the non-profit corporation Starfire Sports. At the time of its opening, CEO Chris Slatt believed it to be "the largest synthetic-turf soccer complex in the U.S."[1]

History[edit]

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.[2][3] 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 that were located within municipal boundaries were offered to those cities.[4] That offer sparked the formation of Starfire Sports by Slatt, Steve Beck and Mark Bickham, who negotiated a 40-year lease with the city of 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.[2] Starfire plans to cover operating and maintenance costs through user fees and advertising banners and hopes to retire the $10,000,000 construction costs over the course of several years.[5]

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.[6]

The city of Tukwila still maintains a wooded part of the 54-acre (220,000 m2) site as a public park.[7] 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.[3]

Facilities[edit]

Starfire features fields for indoor and outdoor soccer, and occasionally rugby union games, as well as a 4,500-seat soccer stadium previously used by the USL Seattle Sounders and now used by the MLS Seattle Sounders FC for US Open Cup matches, the Seattle Reign FC of the NWSL, and the Seattle Sounders Women of the W-League.[8] It was also the home of Hibernian and Caledonian F.C. and FK Pacific of the Pacific Coast Soccer League. Additionally the complex hosts the annual All Nations Cup. The stadium field in 2004 became only the eighth American artificial-surface pitch to earn "recommended" status by FIFA and was thereby sanctioned for international play.[9]

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.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Tukwila soccer fields to be ready late next month", The Seattle Times, October 22, 2003
  2. ^ a b "Cricket team makes a pitch to save the pitch", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 11, 2003
  3. ^ a b c Romero, José Miguel (August 24, 2008). "Sounders FC developing headquarters, practice facility at Starfire". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Pssst, cities: Want to take over a park that's run by King County?", The Seattle Times, March 29, 2002
  5. ^ "Doomed park gets a new lease; local soccer gets much-needed kick", The Seattle Times, July 22, 2004
  6. ^ Star Fire Sports Training[dead link]
  7. ^ "Fort Dent has new stewards", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 11, 2003
  8. ^ Seattle Sounders Women at starfiresports.com
  9. ^ "Starfire Sports receives FIFA nod", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 29, 2004

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°28′11.11″N 122°14′54″W / 47.4697528°N 122.24833°W / 47.4697528; -122.24833