Veterans Memorial Stadium (Long Beach)
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Veterans Memorial Stadium (also known as Veterans Stadium, Vets Stadium or simply The Vet) is a stadium located south of the Liberal Arts Campus of Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California. It is the home stadium to a number of local area high school football teams, as well as Long Beach City College's football team. It was also home to Long Beach State's football team until the program disbanded in 1991.
Veterans Stadium opened in 1948, and was owned by the City of Long Beach for a number of decades. The City of Long Beach used the stadium as a temporary location for Fire Station 19 (now located on Clark Avenue, a few blocks away). The fire station was housed at the south end of the stadium under the bleacher area; the large door that was installed for the fire engine to exit can still be seen. The actual "station", or living quarters area, is now used as an office for stadium personnel.
Soon after the stadium opened, the Los Angeles Bulldogs of the Pacific Coast Professional Football League became the Long Beach Bulldogs for the 1948 season. But the minor-league PCPFL was on its last legs by this time, and so were the Bulldogs -- a legendary West Coast team that had fallen on hard times since the NFL Los Angeles Rams and the AAFC's Los Angeles Dons moved to town. After drawing just 850 fans for a Bulldogs game in Long Beach, the team promptly cancelled the rest of their schedule, and the PCPFL folded soon after.
Two decades later, in 1967, the Vet hosted professional football again. The Long Beach Admirals were admitted to the Continental Football League as part of the league's expansion to the west coast. But the Admirals wouldn't last long: they drew only 2,475 fans for an exhibition game, then just 950 customers for their regular season opener, a 37-13 loss to the Seattle Rangers. After the disastrous gates, the Admirals applied for an immediate transfer to Portland, Oregon; this was denied, and the Admirals faded into history.
In 1987, Long Beach City College acquired Veterans Stadium from the City of Long Beach, and in the 1990s, the college upgraded the stadium for use by local high school football teams. One of the most memorable football contests held at the stadium involved Long Beach Polytechnic High School and Lakewood High School, drawing over 11,500 spectators and regional television coverage. Veterans Stadium is currently the home stadium to the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits and the Los Alamitos High School Griffins.
During the 1980s the stadium also doubled as a Motorcycle speedway venue. The speedway track was laid out over the stadiums existing 400 metres (440 yd) athletics track with additional banking in the corners to allow for faster racing. As well as hosting the World Team Cup Final in 1985 and 1988 (both won by Denmark with the USA finishing second), the stadium played host to numerous American Finals which were then qualifying rounds for the Speedway World Championship during the decade. Some of the riders to have raced at the stadium include Individual World Champions Bruce Penhall and Sam Ermolenko (USA), Erik Gundersen and Hans Nielsen (Denmark) and Per Jonsson (Sweden), as well as a host of top class riders such as Shawn and Kelly Moran and Bobby Schwartz. Veterans is also the site where Dennis Sigalos ended his career with a badly broken leg following a crash in the 1984 American Final.
Probably the most historically notable football contest at this stadium involved a completely different code—rugby league. In 1987, after the three regular matches in the Australian State of Origin series between the states of Queensland and New South Wales, the two teams went to Long Beach for a fourth match, drawing an announced crowd of 12,439 to see New South Wales win 30–18. The canonicity of the match has been in dispute ever since. While all Australian authorities count the match for purposes of individual player statistics, not all of them include it in official team records. Sources in New South Wales, including the Australian Rugby League and its successor, the Australian Rugby League Commission, officially count the match result; those within the Queensland Rugby League do not.
In 2004, Veterans Stadium received another upgrade. A new SprinTurf playing surface replaced the old playing surface in time for the 2004 football season.
About Veterans Stadium
Veterans Stadium seats 11,600, and are on one side of the stadium, a grandstand facing east. 7,000 of the seats are aluminum bench bleachers, with the other 4,600 seats having fixed chairbacks. The field is surrounded by a nine-lane, 400-meter track.
Location and parking
The stadium is located on Lew Davis Street between Clark Avenue and Faculty Avenue. It is three miles west of Interstate 605 (use the Carson Street exit) and two miles north of Interstate 405 (use the Lakewood Boulevard exit or the Bellflower Boulevard exit).
The field is open at both ends and there is a practice field on the north side and a large parking lot on the south side. There are large locker rooms for both home and visiting teams in the stadium and a smaller room for game officials. There are lights for night play using metal-halide lamps on eight towers. Veterans Stadium also features a two-level press box (capacity 100) atop the west grandstand.
Spectator amenities include 4,000 surface parking spaces, two ticket booths with two windows each, three permanent concessions, and a combined message board and scoreboard.
- Veterans Stadium from Los Angeles Sports Council