The last time Wrigley Field hosted a non-baseball event...
Last June, the Tribune ran a story that mentioned the Chicago Fire and the Chicago Cubs were at least discussing the idea of bringing soccer to Wrigley Field for the first time since the Chicago Sting played there in 1984. That story kind of died away but EPL Talk recently mentioned Wrigley Field as a possible venue for Manchester United's seemingly annual summer trip to the United States.
An unnamed source revealed to EPL Talk that Manchester United are considering playing one of their pre-season friendlies at Wrigley Field, the iconic baseball stadium that is famous for its ivy covered brick outfield wall and is the home to the Chicago Cubs.
I don't care if Manchester United comes to play but I do think we'll see some kind of soccer in Wrigley Field in the next few years, if not every year in this new decade. The most recent non-baseball game at Wrigley Field, a college football game between Northwestern University and the University of Illinois, drew its fair share of critics. My fellow bloggers here at SB Nation were some of the fiercest. Hail to the Orange called it an 'abomination'. Maize Brew went even farther to say
Let me put this gently. Someone is going to die in the east endzone of the All-State Wrigleyville Football Classic.
That post went heavy on satire but they did list some real injury concerns before getting into the jokes. Due the negative nature of columnists looking to stir things up, you should probably prepare yourself for a couple of "Didn't we try this already?" and "This is a horrible idea" columns if soccer in Wrigley Field does in fact kick off. Rick Morrissey, who wears his dislike of soccer like a badge of honor, would most likely be first at the trough. Any and all of this columns would be off and follow me after the break for the three top reasons you why there is no reason to be negative and why soccer exhibitions are inevitable at the Friendly Confines.
1. Soccer field dimensions are flexible
While the NFL, NBA, and NHL all have one official sized playing field, court, rink, what have you, soccer fields are a little more like baseball fields when it comes to rules and regulations. The official FIFA handbook states:
The field of play must be rectangular and marked with lines. These lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries. The two longer boundary lines are called touch lines. The shorter lines are called goal lines.
Or basically, you need to have a rectangular field and yeah, you can't set the goals really close to each other and create a ridiculously wide field. When it comes to dimensions, FIFA only lays out minimums and maximums. The 'touch lines' must be between 100 yards to 130 yards long while the 'goal lines' can be anywhere from 50 yards to 100 yards wide. As Soccer Lens shows, the field dimensions in some of the top English stadiums can be all over the place. There's so much variation that West Ham United is 16% smaller than Manchester City's home field.