Fun fact: Joel and I have yet to go to a soccer game together. The closest we came was on our Minneapolis trip for the Red Sox series in 2016, but we ended up opting for a nice dinner instead (which after a day of getting roasted in the beating sun was definitely the right choice). It’s not that we dislike soccer, per se. In fact, some of our favorite memories of sitting down for a game in a sports bar have been during World Cup or La Liga games. But I’ve found that soccer fans are a different breed of sports fans that Joel and I just don’t relate to much. First off, they’re probably going to be mad I’m calling it soccer instead of football, but football to us has touchdowns, not goals. Second, most soccer fans we’ve met are only soccer fans. They don’t really care much at all about any other sport. Granted, there are folks who fall into that boat for every sport, but by and large, when we meet a fan at a basketball game, they’re also baseball fans. Or folks sitting next to us at hockey games also closely follow their city’s football team. And clearly, we follow all of the above.
All this to say that if you asked me what cities have MLS teams and what time of year they play, I would be at a loss. I therefore hadn’t even considered when I planned a tour of CenturyLink Field that it would be set up for soccer and not football. I’m sure it didn’t change much about the tour, but it does mean that I’m going to need to go back (hopefully for a game) to knock out the field as a football stadium.
In terms of the tour itself, one somewhat weird detail to note is that they don’t sell tickets online, so you need to go to the stadium itself to get your tickets. We got there early to ensure that we got our tickets and then hung out in the team store for a decent amount of time. They had lots of cool gear, and I appreciate their team colors, but not being a fan of either their football or soccer teams, there was only so much time I could be entertained. After what seemed like a long wait, we finally got divided into two groups and headed into the stadium.
One of my favorite spots in the concourse was a wall with a helmet from every high school football team in Washington. Seattle has the only NFL team for the state, so I thought it was a nice touch in including the entire state in it’s fan base. From the main concourse we wandered up to the media and box seat level and finally to the area near the 12th man flag, which has one of the best views in the whole stadium. While up there, our tour guide talked about how the stadium was designed to keep noise in, so we got to yell at the top of our lungs and hear exactly how loud it was. I can only imagine how loud games are there. I’m going to need to bring ear plugs!
We finished down below at the field level. First, we wandered down a hallway where all the artists who have performed at CenturyLink have signed jerseys and now have them hanging up. We saw Beyonce’s, Taylor Swift’s, and tons of other great artists. Last stop was actually getting on the field (or a small corner of the field that they coned off for us to stand on while taking pictures).
Overall, the tour was ok, but not as cool, for me, as the Safeco Tour. Stadiums that host two or more teams are hard for me. I understand why it makes sense for the cities, but I also feel that you lose a little of the special-ness when you need to make the stadium generic enough to host two different teams. However, the tour did make me start planning when I can go back for a Seahawks (and maybe someday Sounders?) game, so I guess it did its job!
Just a couple of sports fans touring the world, one stadium at a time.