With the announcement of an official partnership between the Colorado Rapids and the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, now is the perfect time to fill you in on what we have cooking down in Southern Colorado for soccer fans.
The Switchbacks play in the USL Championship, the second division in USSF’s soccer pyramid. They joined the USL in the 2015 season and 2019 will be their 5th year in existence. In that time, they have been led by the coaching tandem of Head Coach Steve Trittschuh and assistant, Wolde Harris. These names might sound familiar to Colorado soccer fans, as they both have spent a considerable amount of time in the Colorado soccer scene.
The Coaching Staff
Steve Trittschuh played for the US Men’s National Team from 1987-1995, earning 37 caps. He was a member of the 1990 World Cup team, the first US team to play in the World Cup since 1934. Domestically, he spent 1996-99 playing for the Rapids, making 98 appearances. After his retirement from competitive play, he stayed with the MLS in an assistant coach capacity.
Wolde Harris also has deep roots in Colorado. The Jamaican made a name for himself in his rookie season with the Colorado Foxes in the A-League (the precursor to the MLS). In 1996, he won Rookie of the Year, the Golden Boot, and league MVP with the Foxes. He played with the Rapids for several seasons from 1997-99, making 83 appearances and 26 goals. He returned for a brief stint in 2005 for 10 appearances. After retirement, he spent time as assistant coach at his alma mater, Clemson. He was inducted in the Clemson Hall of Fame in 2018.
The Switchbacks currently play in Weidner Field, a small stadium on the east side of town. The stadium has gone through a few name changes over the years, being known as Sand Creek Stadium, Switchbacks Stadium, and finally Weidner Field. The stadium is owned by the city Parks and Rec division, but maintained by the Switchbacks. It sits next to the former home of the AAA baseball club Sky Sox.
If you plan on coming down for a game or two, the stadium is fairly easy to get to following any GPS system you use. Parking is $5, and it is recommended to get your ticket early. The best way to get tickets is to contact the ticketing office 719-368-8480 ext 1. The stadium setup is very similar to a high school field, with assigned seating on bench seats. The “cheap” tickets are typically in the supporters’ section, known as Basecamp for the Trailheads. Basecamp is located directly behind the south goal.
The one thing that confuses some people is that the time on the tickets is not the kickoff time, but the time that gates open. For the first 30 minutes after that, all beer is $1. You will find a typical selection on tap, as well as a couple local brews from Pikes Peak Brewing. After that, there is also a minibar on both concourses, as well as standard stadium food, hot dogs, burgers, nachos, etc. Frequent vendors have been Blackjack Pizza, and Dickey’s BBQ,
The atmosphere at the stadium can vary greatly, but it has been said that we sometimes have a baseball crowd as opposed to a soccer crowd. It’s improved over the years, but sometimes you have the fans that have never been to a pro soccer game. The atmosphere is very family friendly and accommodating. There is an inflatable soccer goal that’s a popular attraction for those kids who start to zone out around the 60th minute.
Despite what the weatherman says, come prepared for weather. Each season has seen at least 3-4 game delays due to hail and lightning.
If driving to watch a game isn’t your cup of tea, all USL Championship games are streamed live on ESPN+ Its $4.99 a month, and also includes all MLS games, as well as Italy’s Serie A.
A few hours prior to each game, the Trailheads typical host a tailgate in the south-east parking lot. Food varies and changes, and everybody is invited to join in.
When to Come
#Rapids96 Twitter: @SwitchbacksFC have 7 Saturday home games on days the Rapids aren't playing home OR away.— Matt Pollard (@LWOSMattPollard) January 8, 2019
Mar 16 Sac Republic
May 4 El Paso
May 18 New Mexico
Jun 8 S2
Sep 7 Austin Bold
Sep 28 Las Vegas
Oct 5 Los Dos
Who wants to carpool? #USL
What Else to Do in the Springs
If you and your friends want to make a weekend out of your trip, there are some great activities and sights to see. A hike through Garden of the Gods, a trip up to the summit of Pikes Peak, and if you dare, a trip up the incline. If you are grabbing a bite before or after the game, check out Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub. Located downtown, its the unofficial home for about every soccer supporter in the Springs, including the Colorado Springs American Outlaws. Plus the food is awesome. (My wife is a fan of the Sheppards pie.)
If you do plan on coming down to the Pikes Peak region and have a logistical question, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@AndJasonSays). I look forward to meeting some out of towners at the games.