TCF Bank Stadium may bring two kinds of football to campus.
If Chicago wins its 2016 Olympic bid, the new Gophers football stadium will be one of six U.S. stadiums hosting soccer matches as part of the games.
If the bid comes through, the stadium will be the smallest facility — a capacity of 50,300 fans — to host the preliminary soccer games before the finals are held at Soldier Field in Chicago .
TCF Bank Stadium would join five other widespread facilities from Los Angeles to New York in hosting the matches, all part of a plan to include “sports fans from across the nation,” Patrick Ryan, CEO of Chicago 2016 — the city’s planning committee — said in a news release.
Chicago is competing with Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo for the bid.
Phil Esten , assistant director of intercollegiate athletics, said Chicago 2016 probably picked TCF Bank Stadium because the “Twin Cities have a great history of hosting or being a stage for international and national events.”
The stadium, which so far is on its building schedule and on budget to be built by summer 2009, was made multi-purpose from the beginning, Joel Maturi, University athletics director, said.
“All of this was in our thoughts,” he said. “Not necessarily Olympics, [but] even potential World Cup Soccer someday, because there needs to be a specific sized field for soccer and most football fields are not wide enough to accommodate world-class soccer.”
“We’re just excited to be a part of it,” he said, “and we look forward to the opening.”
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