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FourFourTwo's 20 best stadiums for soccer in the U.S.

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Let’s talk about stadiums.

'Stadium' is one of the buzzwords in U.S. soccer circles. The soccer-specific stadium boom of the last decade has been an integral part of Major League Soccer’s growth, and a plan for a world-class stadium is one of the foremost requirements for anyone seeking entry into the league. No stadium? No team. (Just ask David Beckham & Co.)

We’ve come a long way since the first soccer stadiums of the modern era opened in the U.S. in 1999, and we’ve learned plenty already.

Earlier this month, Orlando City SC opened a gold-standard of a new facility with the first standing terrace in the United States. Minnesota United will follow with the same feature in their new home, which is expected to open next year, and even D.C. United, through all the capital politicking, broke ground on a new home.

My, how far we’ve come.

The latest surge in construction has us thinking about the state of soccer stadiums in the United States. For all the talk of the great spectacles, MLS is still dealing with eyesores like Gillette Stadium and making amends on projects in the outskirts of Chicago, Dallas and Denver, to name a few. The soccer-stadium boom in the U.S. is both progressive and in its infancy. For as far as stadiums have come in the U.S., there’s still a long way to go.

When we decided to take a look at the best stadiums in the United States, we initially thought about limiting this list to venues which have a regular tenant, excluding the big one-off stops which regularly host tournaments and major friendlies. But that would be a disservice. 

One of the remarkable and underappreciated elements of this movement is that billion-dollar behemoth football stadiums are now being built with soccer in mind. MetLife Stadium in New Jersey is a great example. Giants Stadium was terrible for soccer, but the building constructed in the parking lot next door hosted the Copa America Centenario final last year.

So, we went about ranking the 20 best stadiums for soccer in the United States, including soccer-specific venues and those which regularly host soccer matches – Gold Cups and International Champions Cup among them. We’ve factored in not just the architecture of each stadium, but the atmosphere, location, amenities and the history of the venue. The essential question: “Which stadiums are best for watching soccer in the United States?” Our answers vary from intimate venues to massive masterpieces.

In addition to our top 20, we’ll take a look at some other hidden gems, as well as the evolution of soccer stadiums and an exclusive rendering of the stadium of the future. Keep it locked here for the latest:

The more you know...

Join the conversation

We want to know what your favorite stadium is. Not on the list? Hidden treasure that only locals know about? Even better! Tweet us @FourFourTwoUSA using #FFTStadiums and let us know about your favorite place to watch or play. VOTE below.

About the writers

Throughout our countdown, you'll see thoughts from: Jeff Kassouf, Richard Farley, Paul Tenorio, Scott French, Steve Davis and Tim Newcomb