The newly constructed Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium opened to the public on May 2 amidst grand opening festivities that featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the 8,300-seat stadium, live music, kid’s scrimages and soccer player appearances.

The impressive facility is home to the KSU women’s soccer team and the Atlanta Beat Women’s Professional Soccer team.

Construction of the state-of-the-art, $16.5 million soccer stadium was completed this week, just in time for the grand opening and just one week before the Atlanta Beat’s first home game, which is slated for May 9.

The Atlanta Beat will lease the stadium from the KSU Foundation in a collaborative partnership that will allow both the collegiate and professional women’s soccer teams to play out their entire seasons in the facility, billed as the only stadium of this size in the nation designed especially for women’s soccer.

The stadium’s grand opening festivities marked yet another milestone for increasingly prominent and burgeoning Kennesaw State, which has rapidly earned its ranking as the state’s third-largest university. The institution now enrolls more than 22,300 students, who will be greatly served by the stadium’s addition to the university’s athletics and campus-life facilities. The stadium is being funded in large part by KSU student fees.

“With this new stadium, our students and student-athletes can pride themselves in having an athletic facility that is best-of-the-best,” said KSU President Daniel S. Papp. “This stadium will propel athletics at Kennesaw State to new heights. We are honored the Atlanta Beat selected KSU as its home, and that our women’s soccer team also will be able to practice and play on a field that will be the envy of women’s collegiate soccer teams across the nation.”

Hundreds of KSU students, faculty, staff, and community members attended Sunday afternoon’s grand opening festivities. Support from the university’s students and student organizations, especially the KSU Student Government Association, was critical in making the stadium a reality.

The bowl-shaped stadium –– built on 21 acres of land east of the Chastain Road exit off of Interstate 75, about a mile from Kennesaw State’s main campus –– is the latest addition to the KSU Sports & Recreation Park, which opened in fall 2009 to expand the university’s facilities for intramural and club sports.

Construction of the stadium was aided by the leasing partnership KSU forged last year with the newly launched Atlanta Beat, whose season runs from April to September. The newest team in Women’s Professional Soccer, the Atlanta Beat, will also manage the stadium’s operations and events, which will include festivals and concerts.

“This venue is a win-win for the foundation and for the Atlanta Beat,” said Norman Radow, chairman of the KSU Foundation. “By partnering with the Beat, we were able to build our student-athletes a top-notch facility that the university could not have afforded otherwise.”

Atlanta Beat owner T. Fitz Johnson selected KSU’s new stadium as the site for his team to play after scouring numerous college stadiums and municipal venues in metro Atlanta. By partnering with KSU, Johnson’s team will play in a world-class stadium –– being built from the ground up –– specifically designed for women’s soccer.

“This is the only women’s soccer-specific stadium of this size in the world,” Johnson said. “Through our partnership with Kennesaw State that provides us access to this state-of-the art facility, we are the envy of every other team in the league. The stadium is setting a new standard in women’s pro soccer.”

The Atlanta Beat plays its first home game on Sunday, May 9 against the New Jersey Sky Blue FC.

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