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Cheney Stadium: Where Royalty Reign

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Last of its era in NWSL, OL Reign’s home pitch always has something special for fans.

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Yes, there’s smoke for goals, flags waving, and the most welcoming fanbase in sports.
MikeRussellFoto / Sounder at Heart

A big reason why OL Reign made the NWSL Playoffs is because of their home record. Their 8-3-1, +10 performance at their two home stadiums was second in the league, just a point behind the Chicago Red Stars.

Tacoma’s three pro teams all excelled at home. Tacoma Defiance had the 3rd longest unbeaten run at home, finishing 14th of 31. The Tacoma Rainiers won the AAA West. Of course, their 82 wins were best in their division and 3rd best at the level.

The royalty of Cheney Stadium are OL Reign.

Quinn came home with Gold. They are the anchor of the midfield. Oft overshadowed, their calm link-up play enables the glorious attack to succeed. Using bone-crushing tackles they prevent attacks by slamming the gates shut.

Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, Jess Fishlock, Dzsenifer Marozsán, Eugénie Le Sommer, Sarah Bouhaddi, Bethany Balcer, Alana Cook, Angelina, Sofia Huerta — that’s just the beginning of the World Cup quality on the squad. Laura Harvey’s options are so plentiful that she gets to start some of the best talent in the world on the bench.

That leads to magic.

Take the firebolt that Dzsenifer flung into the 18 that somehow Le Sommer managed to bang home. Un-frickin-real.

At the corner of 19th and Tyler every match, every game, you are going to see something you’ve never seen before. Each time the fans’ flags wave it is with the knowledge this team of royalty who walks the trails of Ruston and Point Defiance will represent the best of the people of the Sound.

Braces begin by just banishing the soul of an opponent.

There’s a boat that can fly. Bethany Balcer wins headers, scorers bangers. The best zero-to-hero story in U.S. soccer, Balcer finished second in the Golden Boot race. She only started half the games.

The dragon — the living essence of power and magic — roams Cheney Stadium, hoarding goals. Fishlock is a six, except when she’s a ten, or an eight. Dragons don’t really have positions. You cannot contain them with silly numbers. They just destroy the opposition.

Moments of glory and jaw-dropping excellence are commonplace on the rise from Commencement Bay. The fans know it. They wait in anticipation, ready for smoke to billow and surround them.

The Reign fanbase are glued to this team, because of the way that the team connects to people and the region. That magic of Cheney flows through them too. The values of the players course through their own veins. They know the struggle and will march with every cause these players put forth.

Each seat in the bowl has a new best friend in soccer united behind these legendary heroes who make our Sound home. Every drop of rain is a mote of sorcery, rather than dampening the spirit, those drops are our strength.

Cheney Stadium is an odd fit for soccer, now last of an era for the NWSL. On Sunday (Noon, CBSSN in USA, Twitch internationally, or join the magic yourself) it will be showcased nationally with a large crowd passionately cheering players with Olympic Gold, World Cup trophies, Champions League winners — literally the best in the world — in the Puget Sound sunshine.