COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Excitement is growing for the first game at Lower.com Field, the new home of the Columbus Crew.
The first game is this Saturday, July 3.
The Crew is away for Sunday’s game, but the stadium is still playing a role, giving fans a sneak peek of the new stadium while hosting a watch party for tonight’s game.
Fans — approximately 2,000 of them — lined up for nearly a quarter mile to get into the stadium Sunday.
“This is just finally a dream becoming a reality and honestly, I feel like I’d have to experience it this Saturday to see what it’s going to be like,” said Crew fan Peter Shehata.
For most of the people at Sunday’s event, it was their first time seeing the stadium up close, with some calling it breathtaking.
During the watch party, cheers from fans in the stands, lines at concession stands, and black and gold everywhere gave the new stadium the feel of a live game.
“Best way to put it is cloud nine,” said fan Chris Zerhusen.
There was a Nordecke yard sale during the afternoon, leading into the watch party.
Fans used the yard sale to stock up on Crew gear, all while getting a look at the Crew’s new home, saying they were excited to see the field and excited to watch the away game inside Lower.com Stadium.
“This many people wanting to be here because we’re fighting to save the team and now we have, easily, 2,000 people in the stadium on an away watch game, it’s insane,” Zerhusen said.
Zerhusen is about as dedicated a fan as you’ll find. He has a Crew tattoo on his leg and had a front-row seat Sunday. Like other fans, he said walking into the new stadium was breathtaking.
“This place is amazing,” said fan Scott Salisbury. “It’s fantastic. We love it.”
Saturday’s first game at the stadium will be against the New England Revolution.
“I walked past Nationwide Arena, I walked past Huntington Park, which has a game going on tonight, and come down here and start to see all the black and yellow,” said Columbus resident David Sherrod. “Pretty cool, pretty cool to be able to say our home’s downtown now, too.”
Fans say the new stadium will be good for them, good for the team, and good for the city.
“2016 seems so far away now, looking at what we have and what we’ve done to save the team,” Zerhusen said. “It’s been a long journey and this makes me happy as can be.”