City Stadium

June 5, 2021
City Stadium (Capacity: 22,661)
Richmond, VA
Richmond Kickers vs New England Revolution II
Final Score: 3 – 2


It was a hot day as I made a visit to a team that I used to see often as an opponent of my home club back in the days of the old A-League. Richmond is the capital of Virginia and with a population of 225,000, it is the state’s fourth largest city. Located along the James River in the Piedmont (the central part between the Blue Ridge and the Coastal Plain), RVA is steeped in history, especially from both the Colonial and Civil War era. The Richmond Kickers date back to 1993, making them tied with the Charleston Battery for being the oldest continuously run soccer club in the country. Through their history, they’ve bounced around various lower divisions and they recently have settled into USL League One (third division). Perhaps the Kickers’ biggest achievement was winning the US Open Cup in 1995 (the year before MLS debuted). The team also won the league title in 2006 and 2009. After hosting University of Richmond football for 80 years, the team departed for campus not too long ago and City Stadium has belonged solely to the Kickers. This venerable place that opened in 1929 has become a decent, though quirky, home pitch.
Prestige Ranking: 3 out of 5


There is a lot to check out throughout the city including Maymont Park, the State Capitol and plenty of historical sites if you are in to that type of thing (I am). Richmond is made up of many unique neighborhoods and perhaps the trendiest is Carytown. Located just west of downtown, the area is popular with both locals and visitors. It also is just one of the spots that makes Richmond a growing place for foodies as the lifeblood of the neighborhood (Cary Street) has a ton of restaurants to go along with eclectic shops. This is the place to go for Kickers fans before or after a game. Now, even though it’s a few minutes away by car, Cary Street seems like a world away from City Stadium, which is bounded by highways that put it inside a triangle. Close-quarter houses fill that space which is not taken up by Stadium Grounds and it doesn’t feel like an area you want to explore.
Location Ranking: 5.5 out of 10

Accessibility / Parking

Richmond has great interstate access (I-64 and I-95), and the stadium is right off the Downtown Expressway, but be aware that you are near some toll roads. They are avoidable with a crafty eye on signs or some GPS maneuvering. You may feel lost driving by the houses as the unassuming stadium just pops up seemingly out of nowhere. The parking lot in front is not great at all given that it is gravel and unlined. At least they have attendants directing you where to put your car. The lot may not be enough for the stadium’s capacity, but it is sufficient for Kickers games. With only one middle exit, anticipate congestion and slow merges when trying to leave.
Accessibility / Parking Ranking: 5.5 out of 8


Since seating for stadium is below ground, the stadium’s exterior visual comes from the press box. This is set back a little ways from the small, brick entrance gate and the design is a white wall with “RICHMOND KICKERS” spelled out in a font almost resembling the old west.
Exterior Ranking: 2.5 out of 10


There is a ton of room between the iron fencing and the stairs to the actual seating, letting you roam and avoid bumping into others quite easily. The downfall is that there is no protection from the elements and that outer parts of the open space is gravel (annoying since I had sandals on). Bathrooms are found at two separate outer buildings wonderfully painted with vibrant art. Colors also shine on the other side of the press box wall with a deep red behind a “RVA is United sign”. This spot is also good for those that want to stand as drink rails have been installed (also near the area for wheelchair seating)
Concourse Ranking: 2 out of 5


Old picnic tables are in one corner near the food trucks, which could easily hold way more than the 2 trucks here on this night. Research shows that there are some matches when they have plenty more, so I gave an extra point. Alongside a Kona Ice truck was a pretty good truck serving Mexican-style food and I had a filling bowl of chicken and rice with all the fixings. There’s also a Chick-Fil-A stand for all you obsessers. The central concession building was odd because it only served drinks (maybe Covid related?) and this might be one of the first places I’ve been where there were no burgers, hot dogs, popcorn, nachos or pretzels. Limited options meant lines on the longer side, but they weren’t as bad as I feared. Otherwise, they did well to server local beers like Richmond Lager and Hardywood’s Great Return IPA.
Food Ranking: 4 out of 8


The West Stands hold 8,000 and are in the shape of a half-moon as they stop right at the midway point of each end. Even though it’s unconventional, all seats point towards center and that’s a nice touch not always seen with football stadiums (though the slope of each row isn’t great). The curvature of the stadium leads to a unique set-up where corners are closer to the field than the ends or center. Metal bleachers are the seat type for all except one section at midfield which has cheap chairbacks. With City Stadium being built into a hill, you actually have to walk down a few stairs to the last row and a white wall frames those seats. That wall comes in handy as not only is it the only spot for back support, but it also provides shade (quite necessary for this early evening!). On the other side of the stadium is a more traditional set of seating that holds 50 rows of bleachers which is unused for Kickers matches. The team did build a section of suites at the South End and while these are suites in name only, the red and black section has some perks and comfortability. There are also a couple of Sky Deck suites on the Press Box.
Interior Ranking: 5.5 out of 14


There is only one board and it is on a hill a bit offset on the north end of the stadium. The scoreboard is quite basic with only a small display for score, time and shots on goal (no substitution info). I wasn’t even sure that the shots were correct. Ads comprise the top and bottom.
Scoreboard Ranking: 0.5 out of 4


Might I say that the Kickers have a gorgeous crest! I don’t know what draws me to it, but I just love their logo. The team keeps adding more to the look of City Stadium to make it feel like home and the splashes of red go a long way in helping. However, there is nothing here in terms of banners, team honors or history. There’s plenty of space and walls to do it and it is a missed opportunity to continue to add more of a home feel.
Displays Ranking: 1 out of 6


Parking is free and that is a nice, appreciated gesture that wasn’t expected. Tickets cost $18 ($2 on game day) and that falls in the middle compared to the rest of League One. It is a set price for the whole stadium and while most teams have some cheaper options, it is nice to be able to pick your seat here. Beer is around $6, give-or-take a little and a Chick-Fil-A sandwich is only marked up to $5.59.
Cost Ranking: 7.5 out of 8

Fan Support

This might be the first time I thought the actual attendance was higher than what was announced. A stated crowd of 2,360 looked like more and the team is at the top of popularity within League One. Seasonal attendance just before the pandemic was seeing a nice increase compared to prior years and there does seem to be a good connection with the city.
Fan Support Ranking: 5 out of 8


The relatively decent crowd for this level of soccer made me think I was in for a great atmosphere, but I was let down. It started with very tepid, hesitant applause during player introductions. During the game, a couple great hustle plays went unrecognized and fans unfortunately seemed to have a lack of knowledge. It was like it was their first soccer match (this team has been playing Richmond for 28 years). At least goals were met with loud cheering and some fans standing, while hitting the woodwork or a ball into the box featured ooh’s and ahh’s. Another highlight was the Red Army. Though small (maybe 50 of them) and only active right at the start, the group really enhanced the atmosphere with their drums. Songs were plentiful and chants like “Let’s Go Kickers” and “Stand Up…For Richmond” got some others in the crowd involved. They also had a huge Red Army flag and let off red smoke after goals. Overall, this was an atmosphere better than most in USL League One, but not at the level of several in USL Championship. I guess coming in I thought the demographics of Richmond would lead to a more knowledgeable crowd and a bigger supporters group.  The Beautiful Game hasn’t caught on quite everywhere like I always think and hope.
Atmosphere Ranking: 7.5 out of 14

Other Stuff

Richmond is a great club to support and native Rob Ukrop is the current chairman. He is a former Kicker and he should be proud of what him and his team have done. They give back to the community and are overall engaging with their fans. I attended on Pride night and they had a lot of great things going on for the LGBTQ+ community……Dogs are allowed at the stadium and the seating structure / open space make it a great sporting event to bring a pet……Shortly before my visit, former manager David Bulow tragically passed away at just 41. Truly heartbreaking and the Kickers honored him and his family at the game.…..The half circle of seats was supposed to be full circle, but it never got completed because of the Great Depression and World War II…..Recent additions to City Stadium include a better sound system and new lighting (which flashes after a goal and a team victory). One thing missing though: recycling containers…..Kickeroo is the team’s mascot and that’s why you’ll see Kangaroo references.


This was a very entertaining affair and it started with a bang as Matt Bolduc put the home side ahead just 26 seconds into the match. From there, Richmond fell asleep and New England controlled play for the next 30 minutes, which led to a tying goal. The momentum shifted back to the Kickers and they tacked on two more to make it 3-1. Play remained open as Revs II took control of the final quarter of the game and things got hairy when they pulled one back in the 76th minute. Richmond survived six-plus minutes of extra time as they got the win 3-2.

Stadium Experience Ranking: 50 out of 100

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