UIC to invest in new home for soccer programs
The centerpiece of the $4.5 million Flames Field soccer complex is a new state-of-the-art natural grass playing surface, as well as new irrigation and drainage systems. UIC will proudly continue to feature the only collegiate grass pitch in Chicago.
“This project is the physical manifestation of our commitment to fielding the dominant soccer programs in the Horizon League and to being a perennial power in the Midwest,” said Michael Lipitz, UIC director of athletics. “We thank Chancellor Michael Amiridis and our university community for their continued investment in and support of our soccer programs and student-athletes. The future for the Flames is very bright.”
The new Flames Field will feature expanded seating for more than 1,000 fans. The orientation of the stands will move to the west side of the complex, treating spectators to an unmatched view of the iconic Chicago skyline to the east.
The project also will deliver a new video scoreboard, grass berm seating areas behind the north and south goals, two new brick entryways, a new press box and video platform, and other amenities.
“This project is tremendous for UIC soccer and the entire Chicago soccer community,” said Sean Phillips, UIC men’s head soccer coach. “We’re proud of our reputation for having a world-class surface for competition and our new stadium will significantly enhance the experience for current and future Flames and for our fans.”
“We’re fired up for the future of UIC soccer,” said David Nikolic, UIC women’s head soccer coach. “The new stadium further demonstrates UIC’s commitment to our sport and will provide our fans and student-athletes a truly unique game day experience.”
Flames Field has been an integral piece in the success of UIC’s soccer programs over the years. The men’s soccer team has captured seven regular season championships on the surface since 1999 and an additional six conference tournament titles. The Flames have participated in eight NCAA Tournaments in the past 22 years, including four matches on the home pitch (1999, 2000, 2006 and 2008). UIC won all four of those contests.
Since becoming UIC’s newest sport offering in 2014, the women’s soccer program has risen to prominence, as well. The Flames have reached at least the semifinal round of the Horizon League Championship in each of the last two years. In 2019, the last completed traditional fall season, UIC set a program record with 12 victories as it fought all the way to the conference’s championship match.
A ceremonial groundbreaking celebration will take place later this fall. Stay tuned to UICFlames.com for project updates, construction photos, video features and more throughout the year.