Memorial Stadium (Seattle)
The main stand viewed from the northwest in 2008
|Full name||Memorial Stadium|
|Location||401 5th Ave N.|
|Public transit||Seattle Center|
|Owner||Seattle School District|
|Opened||September 26, 1947|
|Seattle School District|
Seattle Sounders (NASL) (1974–75)
Seattle Sounders (A-League/USL-1) (1994-2002)
Seattle Majestics (IWFL) (2007–09)
Seattle Reign (NWSL) (2014–present)
Seattle Cascades (AUDL) (2015–present)
Memorial Stadium is an outdoor athletic stadium in Seattle, Washington, used mostly for American football, ultimate and soccer, located in the northeast corner of the Seattle Center grounds. It has a seating capacity of 12,000; this was temporarily expanded to 17,000 during 1974–75, while the Seattle Sounders, of the North American Soccer League, played at Memorial Stadium, before moving to the newly constructed Kingdome. Similarly, an A-League reincarnation of the Sounders franchise played at Memorial Stadium, before moving to Qwest/CenturyLink Field. It currently hosts Seattle School District high school football games and adult recreational leagues, and is the home field for Seattle Reign FC of the National Women's Soccer League and the Seattle Cascades of the American Ultimate Disc League.
The stadium was designed by Seattle architect George W. Stoddard, also known for his work on the Green Lake Aqua Theater and the south stands of Husky Stadium. The stadium opened on September 26, 1947, during a "jamboree" featuring eight of the city's high school football teams. Memorial Stadium was dedicated later that year in memory of the Seattle youth who gave their lives in World War II. A memorial wall at the east end is inscribed with the names of over 700 fallen individuals. The following year, the stadium hosted first widespread local television broadcast in the Puget Sound region, the Turkey Day high school football game between West Seattle and Wenatchee.
The stadium was the venue for much of the opening ceremonies for the Century 21 Exposition, a World's Fair held in Seattle in 1962. In 1967, it became the first high school stadium in the country to install artificial turf.
In 1992, the scoreboard was replaced and the field was rededicated as "Leon H. Brigham Field", in tribute to the long-time high school football coach who pushed to build Memorial Stadium while serving as the Seattle School District's first Director of Athletics.
In 2017, the Seattle School District and the city of Seattle announced plans to build a new high school and stadium at Seattle Center in response to major population growth in downtown Seattle. While no timetable has been set for construction, and no site has yet been chosen, the current Memorial Stadium site was seen as a likely location for the new project because the city and school district had agreed in 2009 that the current stadium should be torn down.
The facility is not operated by the Seattle Center itself, but is owned by the Seattle School District and still serves as the "home field" for some high school football games played within the district. Memorial Stadium also hosted the first AAA (now 4A) state championship game for high school football in 1973, the first year of the state playoff system. The top-ranked Wenatchee Panthers were upset by the Kentridge Chargers, 26–24. Entering the title game, Wenatchee had given up just seven points all season and had been the top team in the state polls for four years.
As well as hosting two iterations of the Sounders franchise, Memorial Stadium has served as home to several other pro and semi-pro sports teams. The Seattle Majestics, a women's American football team, played home games at Memorial Stadium from 2007 to 2009 before moving to French Field in nearby Kent. Beginning with the 2014 season, Memorial Stadium became the home to Seattle's NWSL soccer team, Seattle Reign FC. The stadium's capacity is limited to 6,000 for Reign matches. As of 2015, the AUDL's Seattle Cascades use the stadium for the majority of their home games. In addition, the stadium hosts adult recreational league soccer and flag football.
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- Seattle Times – Seattle Center, schools reach pact to tear down Memorial Stadium – November 25, 2009
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