This weekend marks the first soccer tournament of the year inside the National Sports Center Stadium. Eighteen teams will take to the artificial turf fields in the NSC College Girls Showcase tournament Saturday and Sunday. With the stadium beginning a new season, I thought it would fun for this year’s Flashback Friday blog to look back at a few random, admittedly obscure, historical facts about the NSC Stadium. Enjoy!
- From 1990 to 2005, the NSC Stadium was the venue for the Minnesota State High School Track and Field Championship meet. The track was removed in 2008 and converted into a soccer-specific facility with the field moved closer to the grandstand.
- The attendance record for a sports event in the Stadium is 15,615 who watched the USA Women’s National Soccer Team defeat Canada 1-0.
- The two sports that ESPN has televised live in the Stadium: soccer and ultimate.
- A random mix of famous (or semi-famous) people who have appeared in the Stadium you may not know about: Pele, LeAnn Rimes, Freddy Adu, Landon Donovan, Carl Lewis, presidential candidate Ron Paul, Samuel Eto’o and Survivor Africa winner Ethan Zohn.
- Names of all the professional soccer teams that have called the Stadium home: Minnesota Thunder, Minnesota Lightning, NSC Minnesota Stars, Minnesota Stars FC, Minnesota United FC.
- In 2000, Ferdie Ato Adoboe set a the world record for soccer ball juggling by touching the ball 266 times in 60 seconds in the Stadium during a record attempt at Schwan’s USA CUP.
- The U.S. National Soccer Team has played seven international matches in the Stadium — the women’s team four times, the men’s U17 team twice, and the men’s U20 team once. Opponents have been Canada, Norway, Australia, and Sweden.
- Five unusual activities that have happened in the Stadium: a quidditch match, a 3D archery demonstration, a marching band competition, a presidential campaign rally, and in 2001, a local radio station organized a human flag event in the Stadium to memorialize the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City.