Grand Sports Arena – Chicago Mustangs
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The Mustangs Make it Magic at Arena
The Grand Sports Arena is located about 5 miles from the busy commercial shopping center of Schaumburg, Illinois, tucked away in a residential neighborhood of Hoffman Estates. The small building features four indoor soccer fields and serves as a home for adult soccer and recreational soccer leagues throughout the year, but for six home dates from January to April, it is the home to the Chicago Mustangs of Major Arena Soccer League 2.
Originally a hockey rink and known as the Poplar Creek Ice Rink, the facility was converted to an indoor soccer arena several years ago. The building has been home to the Mustangs since the club entered the second division of arena soccer in 2017 after playing its home games at the Sears Centre Arena.
The arena houses 500 people, offering few amenities that provides near-capacity crowds for each home game. The building also features the Red Card Lounge, an upstairs bar with windows to view 2 of the fields as games are played.
Food & Beverage 3
There is one kitchen and bar in the arena that offers up Mexican fare during each home contest. The selection includes scratch-made tacos, tortas, nachos, corn, and chicharrones. A definitely different type of cuisine, but ultimately tasty and satisfying, The tacos, $2 each, are served with either beef, steak, or chicken and topped with chopped onions, cilantro, and three types of salsa.
The bar, which offers corner views of the pitch, features a selection of bottled beer for $4 and includes Budweiser, Bud Light, Corona, Corona Light, and Negra Modelo. Beer is also available by the bucket for $22. Coca-Cola products are available and there are chips and candy if you are looking for something either sweet or salty.
The Grand Sports Arena was never intended to be a professional sports arena but a place for adults to play sports in the evening in recreational leagues or a place for children to play during the weekends while parents watch from the stands. There are wooden bleacher seats for about 500 fans at one side of the field and tabletop seats behind the goalkeeper at the opposite end.
The arena attracts large numbers to games and the place fills up nicely, adding much charm to home games. The official supporters group Disturbio does a fantastic job adding a bit of revelry to the proceedings with drums, noisemakers, singing, flag waving, and blowing smoke from a machine.
The Mustangs have three championship banners hanging from the rafters along with large logos of the club around the building. The sightlines are good, by the turf itself is less than desirable to both the players and the eyes. The public announcer hypes the crowd and does an admirable job of building excitement over the speakers. During the stoppage of play, the team does not have any entertainment such as t-shirt tosses, mascot hijinks, or fan activities on the field.
The arena is located 5 miles from the Shops of Woodfield and the Woodfield Mall near I-290 but it feels much further away than that. The Grand Arena borders a parking lot with a 7-11 and a laundromat and is situated in a residential neighborhood. The good thing is that by car, you are not too far away from plenty of shopping, restaurants, and points of interest in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.
A few local suggestions would be Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria for deep dish pizza, Portillo’s for Italian beef and Chicago-style hot dogs, and Steamboat BBQ.
The crowds for Mustangs games are at or near capacity, a rather impressive feat regardless of the size of the building. Capacity was a tad smaller during our visit, but still impressive at 70 percent full. The crowd was focused on the game and there was not a lot of over the top cheering, except for the supporter club that was vocal throughout the game.
The arena is not hard to find via GPS, but somewhat out of the loop from the City of Chicago and most points south. Once inside the building, there are two entrances to the seating area.
Return on Investment 3
All games cost $10 during the season, concession prices are tasty and are no more than $5, and the parking is free. The Mustangs also have an impressive array of shirts and merchandise that are reasonably priced.
Disturbio dominates the game waving flags, banging on drums, and blowing smoke. The group of 15 to 20 have about four flags that wave during the match and add much life to the crowd.
The concession stand has some tasty tacos that are only $2 and include chicken, beef, and steak. They are homemade and not from a package, plus they have tortas and nachos for $5 that include the same ingredients.
The Grand Sports Arena was never supposed to be a professional sports facility; the Mustangs do a nice job of providing indoor soccer to its burgeoning fanbase each season. The club’s supporters appear to be a dedicated brass willing to follow the club no matter what venue it houses in, but an upgrade in the facility could really make a Mustangs indoor soccer game more bang for your buck. I am sure we will eventually see that down the road.
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