KANASAS CITY, MO. — Kansas City’s NWSL soccer team broke ground Thursday on the first stadium built specifically for a women’s professional sports team.
The hope is that it’s location in Berkley Riverfront Park will help ignite more development nearby, but also that it will set the bar high for where female sports teams around the country play.
The building model in Generator Studio’s offices lay out a vision for what could be once the open space and newly-turned dirt becomes a new stadium, with plans to open for the 2024 NWSL season.
“It currently doesn’t have a lot of development so we’re hoping that by bringing the stadium here all of this continues to grow,” said Generator Studio Director of Interior Design Christina Franklin.
But all the renderings and plans for what will soon be built show what’s already possible before the first game every starts and the first goal is ever scored.
“I think it’s part of what we think is our obligation is to lead the charge,” said KC Current President Allison Howard. “I think we would have been really remiss as we build the first purpose-built women’s professional stadium in the world if we wouldn’t have gone a little bit of the extra mile to go and find female-led design and construction firms.”
She said that was an easy, made easier by the fact that the Kansas City metro had firms the met that standard nearby.
More than 60% of the project leads and designers are women, including for the team’s new practice facility in Riverside, Missouri.
“We all feel like we’re doing something special and you can just sense it, you get that energy and you’re working through it together,” Franklin said.
At a time when pro female sports leagues are often harder to find on TV than men’s games, Howard says the whole project is trying to change that.
“You have to see her to be her, and so we really feel like that’s all gotta be amplified so these young girls who are in junior high and in high school, we host them here, and this becomes their norm,” Howard said.
To do it, Howard said the stadium will be used for a wide variety of events even when the team isn’t playing a game.
It’s also being built with important features already included, like family restrooms and places for moms to breastfeed their babies. Older stadiums are often retrofitting their existing facilities to have those features now.
“I think we continuously say, very rarely in your career do you get to design the first of something and so to be a part of that is really monumental for everyone on it,” said Franklin.
The stadium is expected to open for the 2024 NWSL season.
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