Merlo Field – University of Portland
Merlo Field - University of Portland
Regarded as one of the nation’s best soccer facilities at any level, Harry A. Merlo Field was constructed in 1990. It has been the site of numerous NCAA playoff games and international matches featuring the U.S. Women’s National Team, Brazil, England and most recently Ukraine in the summer of 2005. Several national and Olympic teams have trained on the plush Merlo pitch when traveling through the region.
The Merlo Field press box contains 40 spaces for working press. It has complete transmission capabilities for print and broadcast media and includes restroom facilities. A platform on the press box roof provides an ideal vantage point for still and video camera operators.
One of Merlo Field’s claims to fame came in 1994 when it hosted the NCAA Women’s Soccer Final Four. It marked the first time that the national semifinals and final were held at a predetermined site. With a national television audience looking on, the Pilots were joined by Connecticut, North Carolina, and Notre Dame in playing the first women’s Final Four on the West Coast.
Merlo Field’s 4,892-seat capacity was stretched to the limit and then some when 5,596 fans, then the largest crowd in United States women’s soccer history, turned out for a 1992 game between Portland and North Carolina.
The addition of lights prior to the 2004 season allowed night games to be played at Merlo Field and attendance has soared during Friday night matches. During the women’s magical 2005 championship season, Portland set a new NCAA attendance record for both men’s and women’s soccer by bringing in 40,841 fans to 12 home women’s matches. The Pilots’ average attendance of 3,403 topped the nation in 2005.
The Pilot men have consistently brought in some of the biggest men’s soccer crowds in the country. The Pilots have ranked in the top 15 in home attendance in 11 of the past 13 years, including the nation’s top attendance in 1996 when they averaged 2,554 fans per game.