Reign FC players take the field with escorts. Courtesy Reign FC
South Sound families have a new reason to celebrate this sports season: Reign FC (formerly Seattle Reign), our region's professional women’s soccer team, will make its new home at Tacoma's Cheney Stadium. The team previously played at Seattle's Memorial Stadium.
Reign FC's home opener is Sunday, April 21, against the Orlando Pride. Tickets start at $18.
In addition to the Reign's inaugural season at Cheney, the Seattle Sounders' development team — formerly called S2 — is preparing for its second season at Cheney. This young pro soccer team's fun (and appropriate) new name? Tacoma Defiance.
Along with all this pro soccer, local families are gearing up for the 60th season of Tacoma Rainiers baseball.
“Now known as We R Tacoma, the overseeing body of all three teams is still committed to upholding Cheney’s reputation as a premier, yet affordable, family-friendly environment that’s perfect for kids of all ages,” said AJ Garcia, director of media relations for the teams, in a statement.
Nearby, affordable pro sports
For Olympia mom and soccer fan Sara Reilly, being able to watch professional soccer teams closer to home is a nice bonus for her busy schedule. An avid Sounders fan, she took her son Elliot, now age 5, to his first soccer game when he was just 3 months old. “It’s actually great at that age,” she laughs. “I just put headphones on him and held him the whole time.”
Now that Elliot and his little sister Freda are old enough to run around and eat hot dogs, as well as enjoy a good game of soccer, Cheney stadium is a great choice for taking the whole family to a game. Seeing a Reign FC match is definitely on the family’s calendar this season, as is seeing the Tacoma Defiance play.
“I like that I’ll be able to show my kids that becoming a professional player is a process,” Reilly says. “You don’t just start at the top.”
I agree with Reilly, and I think that both soccer teams bring positive messages to the City of Destiny. Along with great sportsmanship, the award-winning Reign club shows that girls can be just as rough and tumble as the guys. And the Tacoma Defiance boasts one of the youngest rosters in the USL Championship league. The average age among the players is just over 18. I’m glad my tween and teen can get a glimpse at where hard work can get you, even at a young age.
Family sports fun
Aside from life lessons, some of the highlights that make this season perfect for family soccer and baseball outings include special theme nights, cute new sports gear and good old-fashioned family fun.
If your kiddo plays Little League, is in the Girl or Boy Scouts, sings in their school choir or is part of any other group, there are opportunities for for them to be recognized at Cheney Stadium. There are even fun activities on offer for some groups and families can get exclusive ticket options for many of those games.
We R Tacoma also offers birthday packages; the VIP Birthday Package includes a private space, all-inclusive food and beverages, and pre-game field access for up to 500 guests. (Don't tell your kids about that!)
The We R Tacoma season for the three teams runs March through October. A special deal buys you tickets to all three season openers: $30 gets you reserved seating tickets to the Tacoma Defiance's home opener (Friday, March 8); the Tacoma Rainiers' home opener (Tuesday, April 9) and the Reign FC's home opener (Sunday, April 21). This deal also includes a branded "Defiantly Tacoma" baseball hat.
Regular season tickets for the Tacoma Defiance and Rainiers start at $7 for a grass seat, and kids ages 2 and under are free. Reign season tickets (12 games) start at $180, a 15 percent discount over individual match prices. Single match tickets are not yet on sale but will be soon.
Now there are three professional sports teams to cheer for in the South Sound, each offering families incredible action and stadium memories at an affordable price.
If you go...
Directions: Cheney Stadium is located at 2502 S. Tyler Street in Tacoma. From Interstate 5, exit to Highway 16 West. Follow the 19th St. East exit and merge right onto 19th St. Make a right onto Clay Huntington Way and follow it into the parking lot of Cheney Stadium.
Parking: Parking at the stadium is $10, and it’s quickest to have cash ready, although they do accept cards. Try to get there an hour before game time for good parking and ample time to settle in.
Tips for bringing infants and tots: Some families like to bring noise-cancelling headphones and a folding umbrella stroller. Head to the grassy berm and lay out a blanket so you can change a diaper or so wiggly toddlers can move around.
Tips for school-age kids: Arrive early so kids can burn some energy on the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Family Pavilion play structure and try their hand at Wiffle ball. Stay late on Rainiers weekend games and kids can run the bases after the last out.
Tips for teens: So. Many. Good. Snacks. Bring a few extra bucks and let your teen explore the food court. Note, sealed water bottles are allowed inside the stadium, but no other outside food or drink is permitted.