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Columbus Crew Fans Prepare For First Game At New Downtown Stadium

The Columbus Crew will play its first game at Lower.com Field on Saturday, and fans have been preparing by visiting the team shop.
Michael Lee
The Columbus Crew will play its first game at Lower.com Field on Saturday, and fans have been preparing by visiting the team shop.

The Columbus Crew plays in its new stadium for the first time Saturday and the clubs' fans can't wait.

As construction continues around Lower.com Field, Crew fans visited the brand-new team shop to beat the grand-opening rush.

One of those fans is New Albany resident Oscar Marquez. He's excited for the stadium upgrades, and getting together with thousands of other fans again.

"To have folks sort of get a bit back to normal, which I think is great after we've had the pandemic for a while, and the fact that everyone's going to celebrate the Crew, which not only obviously are they champions, but they're playing really well. So, looking forward to that," Marquez said.

Also visiting the shop was Columbus resident Elgin Berger. He and his friends have been season ticket holders since the "Save the Crew" movement in 2018. And so for him, he's looking forward to a new chapter that the stadium will bring.

"The old stadium was great and it had its characteristics and its atmosphere that it had, but just the feel of this place I think is going to be completely different," Berger said. "A bonus will be we won't have to worry about the rain anymore, because Columbus is known for a lot of that."

Berger added that with the new stadium being downtown, it's something that he hasn't been able to experience before.

But for some, a downtown stadium is meaningful, even for people who've come across the country to celebrate like Randy Thomas, who lives in Tampa, Florida.

Thomas said he used to live in Columbus, and that Saturday's game will be the third time he's attended an inaugural stadium game for the Crew. Not only did he attend the Crew's first game at the Historic Crew Stadium — then called Columbus Crew Stadium — in 1999, but also the team's first ever game as a soccer club at Ohio Stadium in 1996.

So for Thomas, the opening game at Lower.com Field was one he had to attend.

"I used to live here and the effort to get them downtown the first time, and to finally see them down here, that's going to be the most exciting part," Thomas said. "They're where they belong."

The Crew's inaugural game at Lower.com Field will be against the New England Revolution, the same team it played when the Historic Crew Stadium first opened in 1999.

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.