Ole, Ole, Ole

One way to make it more desirable to build a professional grade ballpark in Halifax is to make it a multi-purpose facility that can be shared with soccer.  There are some instances were a soccer field has been shoehorned onto a ball field where a facility can host both sports, for example NYCFC (of MLS) will be playing, at least, their first three seasons at Yankee Stadium.

As mentioned previously, a CanAm League team would play about 50 games a year at home.  A potential soccer team would play in the USL Pro Division, Canadian Soccer League or perhaps, the Premier Development League.  The first two of those leagues currently play 26 and 22 games respectively, which translates to a dozen or so home dates.  Both leagues are low-level (Division Three) professional organizations.  The Premier Developement League is an amateur league, using mostly college players, which plays a 14 game schedule (seven home games).  The Division Two North American Soccer League, requires a stadium of more than the 4000-5000 seat park that I am proposing.

The potential soccer club would add a dozen or so dates to my proposed stadium, making it cost-effective to build.  The USL Pro Division currently has no Canadian franchises, so adding partner for travel/rivalry proposes would be prefered.  Again, Moncton would be ideal with Moncton Stadium hosting the team, as would Quebec City with PEPS, neither city currently has a pro team.  The CSL is based is based entirely in Ontario, so a few Maritime teams would be needed, again for travel/rivalry proposes.  The PDL has seven Canadian franchises ranging from Vancouver to Montreal.  Personally, I feel the best option would be the USL Pro Division as it is the highest level of the three and if a biggest stadium ever were to get built, the team could easily move up into the NASL (which for the record has two Canadian teams with Ottawa and Edmonton).

The team’s name could even be a mix of something local with a Euro-sounding name that many professional teams in North America have adopted over the past 10-12 years or so.  A good name for a Halifax soccer team would be something like Halifax Gunners FC or Garrison Halifax FC or something alike.  These would be a nod to own military history, while giving the team a soccer (football) sounding names.  Gunners is the nickname of Arsenal of the Premier League, while Garrison is a reference to the Garrison Grounds by the Citadel.  Heck, there is a Garrison Gunners team in the low-level Isles of Scilly Football League (which is the world’s smallest league having only two teams).

Assuming a natural grass field, which is preferred by both sports, the only challenges would  be to keep the field in good shape with both baseball and soccer as regular events and what to do with the infield dirt during soccer matches (sod over or keep the dirt during soccer matches).  Usually the infield is sodded over when soccer is played in baseball parks, but usually they are one offs involving European/South American teams during their preseason (summer months).  Also the park could be built with both sports in mind.  The soccer pitch could be laid on one baseline, let’s say the first.  More seats could be put on the first baseline or at least seats could go all the way from home plate to the outfield fence (many minor league parks only have seats in the infield).  Also some seats could be placed behind the soccer goal in right field.

Anyway, a baseball/soccer stadium in Halifax could host professional teams in both sports and host more than 60 games in one year.  A downtown (or close to downtown) location would bring summertime business from sports fans which is currently lacking.

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