For the first time since my freshman year at UWM (2005), we were well into September by the time I made it to my first soccer match of the year. Work will do that to you. Work will also bring the 2011 version of Engelmann Stadium to life.
And I’m here to applaud that work. What a killer job done as a whole by Milwaukee Athletics in bringing the old stadium into the new decade.
I was among the nearly 2,000 fans at Engelmann Field, a number that hopefully will become more and more common now that the stadium is a real treat. Here are a couple of the things that impressed me about the stadium:
– Improved signage. Entering the stadium used to be passing a small truck that had a window for tickets and two windows for concessions. Now, you pass under a canopy that has “Milwaukee Panthers” on it as well as the logo. Green canopies, the only things that don’t carry the colors, hold concessions around the corner. Each end zone has very large Milwaukee Panthers marks. All along the sideline are signs for various sponsors. The Engelmann Field sign above the scoreboard has been replaced by Engelmann Stadium. The
– Removal of barriers between students and the field. This might have been a problem, given the high intensity of the games. But in the Milwaukee Cup match there were no indications of issues, the students stayed off the field, and when the Panthers scored they went straight to the student section for a pile of white-clad Panthers, both students and student-athletes, celebrating. It was great.
Of course, you know me, and nothing is perfect in my eyes. I think we could do even better. Here are some ideas for the new Engelmann Stadium:
– New scoreboard. The Georgia Bulldogs soccer scoreboard is a perfect example of what can be done for Engelmann Stadium. Replacing the old scoreboard, or leaving it and simply adding a second one to the southeast corner like UGA’s board, would bring about a new-stadium feel, at least in one corner, much like the $30,000 scoreboard at Hank Aaron Field has done. While that scoreboard is more lipstick on a pig, a new scoreboard at Engelmann seems right, because the scoreboard should be that one thing that screams “technology.” I’d love a video board, but with only a couple cameras, you’re not getting enough close-ups to warrant it. Also, video boards are pretty expensive, which is the obvious reason-why-not.
– Bookstore stand. Over the past couple seasons, the bookstore has set up a nice little base in the west concourse at the US Cellular Arena. I’m not sure that’s the best place; the stand isn’t seen by half of the arena if they go directly to their seats. At Engelmann, there is one main entrance on the northeast corner, and the west side has an entrance. However, in the open area, all fans could see a stand right next to the concessions. It helps athletics in pushing its brand, and it helps the bookstore sell its product. We’ve got to use the space at Engelmann to its fullest.
All in all, I’m very excited that we have this Engelmann Stadium to look forward to from now on. There can be even more improvements to really make this place an even bigger home field advantage, such as putting student bleachers on the west end of the field to create a second Engelmann Elite section.