Fans heading to The Swamp on Saturday for Florida Soccer Team’s season opener against No. 8 Utah should expect plenty of traditional game-day experiences and several new improvements.
As one of the most anticipated season openers in Florida history, a sold-out crowd is expected for the 7 p.m. contest, and fans should plan to arrive early to avoid delays, according to senior assistant athletic director Steve McClain.
“To say there is a high level of interest and excitement within the Gator Nation would be an understatement,” McClain said. “A lot of that has to do with Coach (Billy) Napier and what he has done during his short time here on the programme. Our game day administration team has also been working hard to provide new opportunities and new experiences to our fans.”
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Fans planning to heel out should plan for unexpected road closures due to ongoing campus construction. Museum Road is closed from Newell Drive to Center Driver and from Gale Lemerand Drive to Hume West.
Three hours before kick-off, vehicles will no longer have access to University Avenue between Gale Lemerand Drive and Northwest 17th Street (Buckman Drive), Gale Lemerand Drive between University Avenue and Stadium Road, and Stadium Road between Gale Lemerand Drive and Fletcher Drive.
UF is encouraging fans to use the Waze traffic app, which updates live and includes construction zones, converted one-way streets and game day closures.
Fans who choose to tailgating this year will have access to more mobile toilets. The units were installed in parking lots 109 and 114, Library West, Music School, Stadium North Lawn, and RV City outside the Condron Family Ballpark.
Starting at 4 p.m. on the stadium’s North Lawn, seven food trucks will serve food to hungry Gators, including Frios, Wing King Miami, Popadop’s Kitchen, Cilantro Taco, Monsta Lobsta, Big Lee’s BBQ and Pop Stroke. The Swamp Head Brewery will once again be set up on the North Lawn as well.
The popular Gator Walk will begin approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes before kickoff.
When fans enter the stadium, which opens 90 minutes before kick-off, it is important to remember that the transparent bag policy remains in force. Handbags, backpacks, fanny packs and camera bags are prohibited.
Fans should download their tickets to their mobile wallet before arriving at the gate to expedite the entry process. Ticket screenshots will not be accepted.
Inside the stadium, fans will be treated to an upgraded team entrance which will include flame towers, lights and smoke, as well as updated versions of their favorite pre-game videos. The video cards have also been reconfigured to provide a more fan-friendly layout for game stats and other information.
Other planned pre-game festivities include a military flyover — weather dependent — and Gator great Reidel Anthony as honorary Mr. Two Bits.
UF Health frontline workers will be recognized during the game.