While much of the media coverage today about USC’s threat/negotiating ploy to leave the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has centered on USC fooball, it should be noted that the venerable stadium is the second most important soccer venue in Southern California, after Carson’s Home Depot Center.
It’s practically the second home of the Mexican National Team and has been part of America’s soccer history since the days of the now-defunct North American Soccer League.
I’ve been there both as a fan (most recently for the Manchester United tour a couple of years back) and as a reporter (I was one of a handful at the USC-Florida women’s NCAA Tournament game Saturday) and was reminded on both occasions of how much the stadium blows in pretty much every respect
It’s an embarrassment on the scale of the LAX terminals.
USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett summed up the (minimal) needed improvements:
1. Complete replacement of concession facilities to afford modern food and beverage services like those offered at all major stadiums.
2. Replacement of, and additions to, the currently inadequate restroom facilities.
3. All new, state-of-the-art video and score boards.
4. Replacement of the grossly inadequate sound system.
5. Improved access through renovated and replaced stairs, elevators and escalators.
6. Repair of crumbling concrete stairs, walkways and infrastructure.
7. Replacement of all seats.
8. Reconfiguration of entry gates in order to move fans in and out of the stadium safely and efficiently.
Even the parking is poorly signed and incredibly tight and inconvenient. And you have to leave the stadium to reach (or get back from) the (tiny) press conference room.
To turn down $100 million in renovations from a private school requires more explanation even if there are significant strings attached (sounds like it comes down to control of the venue).
I dread going there and I know most soccer journalists do.
A fix is direly needed.
Still, Pasadena shouldn’t get smug.
The Rose Bowl is a 50,000-seat stadium masquerading as a 90,000-seat stadium (have you ever sat in those seats?) and access through those residential neighborhoods is a task.
While I’m at it, shouldn’t the city of Pasadena have updated their Web site by now that observes “the Rose Bowl is home for the UCLA Bruins Football team and the Galaxy Soccer team.”?
The Galaxy, of course, haven’t been tenants since 2003.