CARY, N.C. (March 6, 2019) - Changes are coming to Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. In fact, many have already happened, and North Carolina Football Club is excited to start a new season with plenty of fresh changes around the organization and game-day experience. From brand new faces , to a completely upgraded ticketing system and big-time stadium enhancements, the North Carolina FC and NC Courage seasons are on a strong path to early success.
On the team front, chances are you’ve already heard of Dave Sarachan’s appointment as the head coach of North Carolina FC. The former manager of the USMNT has also assembled an impressive staff which will better connect NCFC’s youth-to-professional pipeline. NCFC Youth Academy Director John Bradford, former U.S. YNT U-15 Head Coach Clint Peay and Assistant General Manager and Goalkeeper Coach Nic Platter round out the rest of the coaching staff.
Paired with 10 key returners, a new contingent of NCFC players, including NCFC Youth Academy star Manny Perez, 2018 Malawi Player of the Year Yamikami Chester and New Zealand International Sam Brotherton, are ready to kick off the new era. To learn more about North Carolina FC’s 2019 roster, click here.
On the Courage side, the team enters the 2019 season as the team to beat. Fresh off winning the Women’s International Champions Cup, the NWSL Shield and the NWSL Championship in 2018, the championship-caliber NC Courage returns a staff and roster with minimal changes, with Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé being one of big additions to the team. The league has expanded its roster size to 22 with the space for four additional supplemental roster spots. Being a FIFA Women's World Cup year, the NWSL will have the unique challenge of playing a portion of the season without some of its biggest stars, making roster depth that much more important.
The Courage has also been hard at work adding new players and retaining key pieces that led to its success. To learn more about the North Carolina Courage, click here.
Upon entering the stadium, you’ll also see some exciting changes around the grounds. LED field boards have replaced the static field boards along the east side of the field, giving sponsors a better opportunity than ever to advertise their business.
The team will also get some enjoyment from the upgrades. Both locker rooms have been repainted with branded colors and team logos. Brand-new Kwik Goal soccer goals have arrived. The Pro Premier® Copa Goal was originally developed for the 2016 Copa America Centenario and is now used by U.S. Soccer on their training grounds and during matches.
Additionally, state-of-the-art team benches from dreamseat will be installed in April. Both companies are nationally known for their excellent products and the changes are another exciting way that North Carolina Football Club continues to improve the match-day experience for fans and players alike.
While in the stadium, be sure to stop by one of the three merchandise tents, outside the gates and in the east and west concourses, to check out all the new NCFC and NC Courage merchandise for 2019.
As always, the same fun atmosphere will be alive on game days. NCFC Youth members will have interactive entertainment at NCFC Youth Fan Zone, located in the southeast corner of the stadium. The Family Zone, which includes soccer pool, an inflatable goal, face painting and other activities will be located in the northwest corner and Far Post Pavilion – a bar scene with corn hole and other tailgating games will remain in the southwest corner.
Ticketing and Parking:
You’ll notice one of the most important changes when you look to buy your tickets for a North Carolina FC or NC Courage match. The club has officially partnered with Ticketmaster to bring their best-in-class software and easy, streamlined services to Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The move also brings a fully digital ticketing system to make buying, using and transferring season and individual game tickets easier and safer than ever.
The organization has also added a guest services tent right outside the gates in front of the box office, where a staff member will be happy to assist fans with any questions they may have.
This year, North Carolina Football Club will also charge for parking. Requiring $10 cash for general admission parking and $15 VIP parking option that can be purchased in advance on Ticketmaster.
Getting To The Game In Style:
Once again, the North Carolina Football Club will offer the Red and Blue Express bus from locations in Downtown Raleigh and in Durham. New this year is an added stop in Durham at Hi-Wire Brewery at 800 Taylor St. in addition to Bull McCabe’s and Brightleaf Square. The Raleigh stops are still the Carolina Ale House on Glenwood South and London Bridge Pub. The bus will run for Saturday games only. For more information on the Red and Blue Express click here.
Early Season Can’t Miss Games:
The first opportunity to soak in the new changes will be on Saturday, March 9 at 4 p.m. for North Carolina FC’s home opener against two-time defending USL Cup Champions Louisville City FC.
Just a few weeks later, North Carolina Football Club will host a Friendship Cup doubleheader on Saturday, March 23 as the NC Courage will face Alex Morgan, Marta and the Orlando Pride in a preseason match at 1 p.m. and North Carolina FC takes on Liga MX side Necaxa in an international exhibition at 3:30 p.m. Both matches will take place at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
The NC Courage will begin their 2018 NWSL title defense on Saturday, April 13 when they host the Chicago Red Stars at 7 p.m.
As the season quickly approaches, North Carolina Football Club continues to prepare for a big year and new era in club history.
Season tickets for the North Carolina FC and NC Courage’s 2019 seasons are on sale now and feature many great packages and benefits – including General Admission Parking, the brand-new Auto-Renewal Program and traditional benefits such as exclusive meet the team opportunities. Click here to learn more about season tickets or call the Coastal Credit Union Box Office at 919-459-8144 to speak with a ticket representative.