Friday, May 19th will mark a momentous occasion in the history of MLS NEXT Pro as Huntsville City FC proudly unveil and make their home debut at the Wicks Family Field at Joe Davis Stadium. The atmosphere promises to be electric, with thousands of enthusiastic fans expected to fill the stands.
The city of Huntsville has made a remarkable $30 million investment in the newly renovated stadium, which showcases a range of impressive features.
Fans will be treated to a spectacular "Zero-Edge" video scoreboard, spanning an expansive 1,600 square feet, that will display every second of the on-field action. Additionally, seven fully furnished private boxes have been added at field level, offering an exclusive viewing experience.
The stadium’s transformation not only elevates the sporting experience at the Wicks Family Field at Joe Davis Stadium but also reflects the city's commitment to providing an exceptional venue for its residents and visitors alike.
Jacob Brabant, communications and broadcast manager for Huntsville City FC, spoke to The Madison Record about the exciting amenities awaiting fans.
"With a seating capacity just over 6,000, the stadium offers an intimate setting where fans can truly immerse themselves in the action," Brabant shared. "Additionally, we've created a beer garden for supporters to gather, mingle, and savor the scenic views. Regardless of the sport, our fans will have the opportunity to transform the stadium into a true fortress, a home for our team."
Previously, Joe Davis Stadium was home to the Huntsville Stars, the Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. However, since the Stars were acquired and relocated in 2015, the stadium sat dormant. Now, the historic venue springs back to life when it hosts its first-ever professional soccer game on Friday night, breathing new energy into its hallowed grounds.
Local investments steer the path forward
This past week, Huntsville City FC, in collaboration with the City of Huntsville and the Wicks Family, announced that the field within Joe Davis Stadium would bear the name "Wicks Family Field" in recognition of their substantial contributions to the team, city and North Alabama.
Mike and Christine Wicks, prominent residents of Huntsville, have played a pivotal role in enhancing the city's infrastructure, culture, and sports scene, and now they extend their support to ensure the success of Huntsville City FC in the vibrant Rocket City.
“It comes with absolute pride and joy to add our family’s name to the newest entertainment destination in North Alabama,” said Mike and Christine Wicks in a combined statement. “For decades, our family has contributed heavily to the revitalization and growth of our city, and today we are able to show our immense desire to also deliver a new era of sports in the Rocket City, and a new outlet for soccer and sports fans across the region.”
During Friday night's game, the Wicks family will partake in a special ceremonial coin toss at midfield just before kickoff.
Also before kickoff, the Principal Owner of Huntsville City FC, John Ingram, along with other club executives, will be joined by MLS NEXT Pro President Charles Altchek to commemorate the occasion with an on-field recognition and photo opportunity.
Ready to Come Home and Deliver
After spending the first seven games of the season on the road, Jack Collison's Huntsville City FC squad eagerly anticipate their first home game of the campaign.
While they are yet to secure a regulation-time victory, their prowess in shootouts has been impressive, winning all three so far to lead the league. Notably, player/coach John Berner showcased his skills by making a crucial save during the shootout against Fire II on Matchday 8 to give his side the extra point.
In terms of goal-scoring, forward Kemy Amiche and Azaad Liadi share the team lead with two goals each. Midfielder Ollie Wright has also made a notable impact, earning recognition for his outstanding goal against FC Cincinnati 2, which earned him Goal of Matchday 3 honors.
The upcoming match against Crown Legacy on Friday will be the second encounter between the two clubs. Their previous meeting resulted in a 2-2 draw on Opening Matchday, with Huntsville emerging victorious in a penalty shootout with a score of 4-3.
Huntsville City FC’s first-ever signing Isaiah Johnston gave his thoughts before his team’s home debut: “I think what's kept us focused is seeing how many season tickets are being sold and caring about the stadium, seeing the stadium.
"It's right down the road from where we train, so we see it every day. So, I think that's given us some motivation to keep stringing together performances and although we haven't strung together a win, I think we're all motivated and ready to come home and deliver.”