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Rhode Island FC Announce Temporary Stadium for 2024
RIFC has a temporary home for 2024
Amid previously reported delays in financing for their new state-of-the-art stadium at Tidewater Landing, Rhode Island FC has announced that they will play their inaugural 2024 season at a temporary home.
Previous speculation centered on Pierce Memorial Field in East Providence, RI. However, the team has instead struck a deal with Bryant University in Smithfield, RI to use Beirne Stadium and its other facilities. In addition to its games, the team will also hold practice and have locker rooms there.
“We are committed to creating a uniquely Rhode Island fan experience from our opening match. Our club will kick off USL action in 2024 at Bryant University while we complete construction of a world-class stadium at Tidewater Landing. This decision will allow the club to focus on the fan experience in the inaugural season and prioritize the work necessary to field a team that is ready to compete for trophies from the opening match,” RIFC President Brett Luy said.
In addition to being home to Bryant University’s football program, the stadium also hosted the New England Patriots’ training facilities for over two decades.
“Bryant University is happy to welcome Rhode Island’s new professional soccer team to play their inaugural season at Beirne Stadium on our Smithfield campus. We appreciate the enthusiasm that pro-sports teams bring to our community and look forward to being part of the excitement,” added Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D.
In the coming weeks, the team will announce the 2024 seating plan and release information regarding how Rhode Island FC season ticket deposit members can convert those deposits into season tickets.
Beirne Stadium at Bryant University seats 4,400 spectators (although the record attendance for a football game there is 8,364), which is well short of the 10,500 spectators expected to be able to be seated at Tidewater Landing. It is not clear if or how Bryant University and Rhode Island FC will expand seating at their temporary home. The USL Championship requires its teams to be able to seat at least 5,000 spectators.
“The most specific and biggest challenge frankly it is mostly U.S. soccer standards and there’s pro league standards at the division two level we have to meet, which are 5,000 fixed seats and a playing dimension of 110 by 70, it either needs to be a FIFA approved artificial surface or a professional grade grass surface,” Team President Luy also said per ABC6. “Obviously that narrowed our scope of areas that we could focus on in terms of venues.”
Rhode Island FC is expected to host at least 17 games over the season when it kicks off next March–though fans will be hoping for the playoffs and US Open Cup to add more.