Starfire Sports is a sporting facility in Tukwila, Washington, on the banks of the Green River, near Seattle. It is operated by the non-profit corporation Starfire Sports and is home to several soccer and rugby teams. At the time of its opening, CEO Chris Slatt believed it to be "the largest synthetic-turf soccer complex in the U.S." Seattle Sounders FC has offices and training facilities at the complex, and stages Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches at the main stadium. Their affiliate team, Seattle Sounders FC 2, played at Starfire from 2015 to 2017. The Seattle affiliate of Major League Rugby, the Seattle Seawolves will play at Starfire Sports beginning in Spring 2018.
|Starfire Sports Stadium|
|Former names||Fort Dent Park
Starfire Sporting Complex
Starfire Sports Complex
|Location||6840 Fort Dent Way
Tukwila, WA 98188
|Capacity||4,500 (at main stadium)|
|Surface||5 grass fields
7 outdoor FieldTurf fields (inc. stadium)
2 indoor FieldTurf fields
|Broke ground||June 20, 2003|
|Opened||April 23, 2005|
|Construction cost||$10 million USD|
|Seattle Sounders Women (W-League) (2003–present)
FK Pacific (PCSL) (2003–2007)
Hibernian & Caledonian (PCSL) (2004–2006)
Seattle Sounders (USL-1) (2008)
Tacoma Stars (PASL) (2011–2012)
Seattle Reign FC (NWSL) (2013)
Seattle Sounders FC 2 (USL) (2015–2017)
Seattle Seawolves (MLR) (2018–present)
The site was formerly Fort Dent Park, operated by King County. In addition to the existing grass soccer fields, the park included a cricket pitch and softball fields in the areas now occupied by artificial-surface soccer fields. Severe budget cuts in 2002 led the county to schedule the closing of this park, among others, at the end of the year; however, parks that were located within municipal boundaries were offered to those cities. That offer sparked the formation of Starfire Sports by Slatt, Steve Beck and Mark Bickham, who negotiated a 40-year lease with the city of Tukwila to allow them to build and operate the complex. This would relieve the city of an estimated $500,000 in annual maintenance costs which would likely have caused it to refuse the county’s offer had Starfire not stepped in. Starfire plans to cover operating and maintenance costs through user fees and advertising banners and hopes to retire the $10 million construction costs over the course of several years.
New construction included four lighted outdoor soccer fields with FieldTurf, including the stadium with its 2000-seat grandstand, along with the indoor facility.
The city of Tukwila still maintains a wooded part of the 54-acre (220,000 m2) site as a public park. An expansion was unanimously approved by city leaders in a public hearing at the beginning of 2008 for the offices and training facilities of Seattle Sounders FC.
Starfire features fields for indoor and outdoor soccer, and occasionally rugby union games, as well as a 4,500-seat soccer stadium previously used by the USL Seattle Sounders and the Seattle Reign FC of the NWSL and now used by the MLS Seattle Sounders FC for US Open Cup matches, the Seattle Sounders FC 2 of the United Soccer League, and the Seattle Sounders Women of the W-League. It was also the home of Hibernian and Caledonian F.C. and FK Pacific of the Pacific Coast Soccer League. Additionally the complex hosts the annual All Nations Cup. The stadium field in 2004 became only the eighth American artificial-surface pitch to earn "recommended" status by FIFA and was thereby sanctioned for international play.
The expansion undertaken by the complex in 2008 also included new fields along with a workout and fitness area for the Sounders FC, as well as offices for the coaching and technical staff. To retain its community-based programs and accessibility, these areas and the fields have some public access.