Book progress to date

Book progress to date
View from our seats at PayPal Park during the first half of a Bay FC vs. Portland Thorns game

With the project in full swing, I thought I'd post an update on how things are going, two weeks in.

Four stadium trips are already done and dusted, with two more trips planned this week. In mid-May I'll hit Houston and Kansas City on a single weekend and officially pass the halfway mark with eight research visits out of fourteen total.

The trips are starting to hit a consistent groove. We tend to show up 60-90min before a game, tour the stadium while taking photos and ample notes on anything interesting or unusual, then we check out pre-game activities. We try a variety of food and drink options before the game. We watch games, visit the stadium's public areas during the half, grab more food and drinks, then stay until the end and hang around for post-game activities and final notes. The next day, I post photos here from the trip then start assembling a draft for the stadium review.

Writing-wise, stadium review chapters are running about 2,500 words each and we are getting them done in a couple sessions. Two stadium chapters are already drafted and edited, with two more drafts being completed this week. With so many overlapping trips it's important to get the drafts, photos, and notes down on paper as soon as possible after a game, so as not to lose any crucial details for each location.

The table of contents is coming together and a preliminary look is below. Once all the stadium reviews are written and edited, I don't know how much additional stuff I'll throw in, but I think an overall ranking of all the stadiums we experienced and why we chose them in that order will be fun for readers, as well as a speculative chapter covering a wishlist of things that make up a perfect fan experience, where we mention every great thing we saw teams doing throughout the project.

Table of Contents (preliminary)

  • Introduction: How we each came to love soccer
  • The birth of the book: Our first away game trip in Louisville, 2022
  • NWSL Stadium reviews
    • Chicago, Illinois’ SeatGeek Arena
    • San Jose, California’s PayPal Park
    • Sandy, Utah’s America First Stadium
    • Portland, Oregon’s Providence Park
    • San Diego, California’s Snapdragon Stadium
    • Los Angeles, California’s BMO Stadium
    • Houston Texas’ Shell Energy Stadium
    • Kansas City, Missouri’s CPKC Stadium
    • Orlando, Florida’s Inter & Co Stadium
    • Louisville, Kentucky’s Lynn Family Stadium
    • Seattle, Washington's Lumen Field
    • Cary, North Carolina’s WakeMed Soccer Park
    • Washington DC’s Audi Field
    • Harrison, New Jersey’s Red Bull Arena
  • A ranking of all 14 NWSL stadiums
  • A blueprint of how to create the ultimate stadium fan experience
  • Conclusions and Acknowledgements

All the remaining stadium trips, tickets, and hotels are booked and the last venue visit will be June 30th in New York. Shout out to apps like Kayak, TripIt and Apple Wallet for making it possible to keep track of fourteen different city trips and all their associated confirmation numbers.

Our plan is to have editing completed in July which puts the book on track to be available sometime in August right when teams return from the long Summer Olympics break. When it's all done, we'll probably share a sample chapter on this very blog as well.

It's been a ton of work so far, but fun as hell to get out on the road, get a feel for new cities, and take in a game at an unfamiliar pitch, all while taking copious notes. I'm still super jazzed by the project and can't wait to share everything we've written and researched with fans in the coming months.