Player Cale Spence makes a play during a Ballard FC match in 2022. Credit: Blake Dahlin
Like many families around the Pacific Northwest, my family is a sports family. Our son is a soccer fanatic, and we love to support his teams. We love to watch Sounders and OL Reign games, too. There’s also a newer team in town, and you don’t have to be a sports family to appreciate this kid-friendly and affordable opportunity.
I’m talking about Ballard FC, a hyperlocal, almost-pro soccer team that held its inaugural season last year. The team is back for its second season, and the regular season home opener is Friday, May 26. Attending a game is so much fun.
Ballard FC quick facts
Ballard FC plays in the USL League Two, which means the players are not pros — yet. Many are local college standouts. Playing for Ballard FC or other USL League Two teams is a stepping stone toward becoming a professional soccer player. The skill level is high, and games are action-packed.
The team plays its home games at Interbay Stadium in Interbay, the flatlands between Seattle’s Queen Anne and Magnolia neighborhoods.
The 2023 regular season runs May 26–July 16, with nine home games, including the preseason friendly. If the team earns a playoff berth, expect more games! They made it to the playoffs last year.
Tickets cost $15 to sit in the stands or $12.50 for standing room (more about this below). Tickets for all home matches are on sale now. (Get yours quick — stadium seating can sell out!)
Ballard FC match day
Our family enjoyed attending matches last season for so many reasons. Gathering with our community and cheering on a local team is fun! Our middle-school-age son loved roaming around with his friends, buying snacks from the concession stand, interacting with the players after the match and getting really close to all of the soccer action. It’s a safe and totally family-friendly environment: I’d have no qualms letting sensible elementary-age kids wander around with their friends.
For younger kids, visit the Salmon Bay PT Kids’ Zone at the west end of the stadium bleachers to play games before or during a match.
Parking can be tricky. There is a teeny-tiny lot but I wouldn’t even bother trying to find a space there. Park in the adjacent neighborhoods, or better yet, ride your bikes or hop on the bus. There is ample bike parking (and bikes are guarded by volunteers!) and the Metro D Line passes close by. Families from Magnolia, Ballard and Queen Anne could walk.
For stadium seating, I recommend bringing a stadium cushion if you have one to make the aluminum bleachers a little more comfy. The bleachers are also in full sun, so you’ll want to bring gobs of sunscreen and a hat if it’s sunny. It can get pretty hot on a hot day.
New for 2023, the beer garden is bigger and is now all ages. What?! Yep, kids can enter the beer garden area, along the east end of the field, as long as they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian and don’t try to order any beer. When buying your tickets, note that most of the standing-room space is inside the beer garden this year, though there is some space outside the beer garden as well.
Okay, you’re not playing in the game but you do want to support the team with your full strength, and that means fueling up.
First off, your match ticket gets you a buy-one-slice-get-one-free deal at Pagliacci Pizza. (It’s hard to describe how thrilled I am by this partnership.) Show your ticket on match day at the Pagliacci just a goal kick away and savor your pizza as you stroll to the stadium. (The deal is also good at other Pagliacci locations, except those on the UW campus.)
Inside the stadium, find tasty fare from Ballard faves Mainstay Provisions and Watson’s Counter, plus a rotating roster of food trucks. The stadium’s concession stand sells typical stadium snacks and drinks. And the beer garden, of course, offers beer, including Interbay IPA from team sponsor Reuben’s Brews.
Follow the team on Instagram for info on special theme nights, local partnerships and other haps.
Our family has tickets to most matches this season and we’re so excited! We hope to see you there. Up the Bridges!
If you go ...
When: Home matches take place on the following dates, and gates open 90 minutes before game time.
Tickets: Tickets cost $15 for stadium seating and $12.50 for standing room. For our family, the extra couple dollars is well worth it to have a seat when you need it. Buy tickets online.