Legion FC to play season opener at home against rival Memphis on July 15 on ESPN 2

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Mayor Randall Woodfin and the Brigade’s Nic Gulas leads a cheer during the game in February 2020. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Imagine if Alabama played Auburn for a season opener?

That’s the gift Birmingham Legion FC supporters received yesterday when the team announced they will kick off the 2020 USL Championship season at home on Wednesday, July 15 at 7pm against their rival Memphis 901 FC.

Better yet, just like the annual Alabama-Auburn rivalry, the event will air live nationally on ESPN2.

First Professional Sports Game During the Pandemic

Birmingham Legion FC taking on Atlanta United in February 2020. Photo from Legion FC Facebook

The upcoming Legion FC v. Memphis 901 FC match will be one of the first professional sports  league home games since the COVID19 pandemic began in mid-March.

Legion FC’s league, the USL Championship, is the first league in the United States to return to play in each club’s home market, with games in their own cities and stadium.

Making Sure Fans Are Safe

Legion FC is taking every precaution possible to make sure the games are safe.  

According to the team, BBVA Field capacity will be limited, and all Health and Safety Protocols being put in place are listed below, in accordance with federal, state and local safety guidelines, in addition to specific protocols put in place by the USL and Birmingham Legion FC. 

All Legion FC season ticket holders will be able to attend each home game, and will have a specifically assigned, socially distanced seat location.

Legion FC Supporters On Board

One group that is very excited about the return of professional soccer is the Magic City Brigade, the club’s “superfans.”

“We are going to work with the team and do this game as safely as we possibly can,” said Simon Iles, an officer with the Brigade. “Getting a chance to play our old enemy and rival on national TV – Memphis is very exciting for us. We will do whatever it takes to watch our team in person, we are happy to follow any guidelines we need to.”

List of protocols

Birmingham Legion FC at BBVA Field in February 2020. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

So, what can fans expect? The club released a list of protocols for the home games.

  •  Stadium capacity will be limited but able to accommodate all Legion FC season ticket holders.
  • Legion FC has developed a socially distant seating plan for the 2020 season that provides for a minimum of six feet of distance between groups of fans attending matches together (i.e. families), including areas previously designated as General Admission.
  • Sanitizer stations will be positioned throughout the stadium to provide CDC-approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Prior to, and during the match, restrooms and other high traffic areas and fan contact areas like concessions counters and grandstand railings will be regularly sprayed and wiped with CDC-approved alcohol-based sanitizer. 
  • Fans will be required to wear face masks upon entering the stadium, and Legion FC branded face masks are available HERE. Fans will be instructed to wear masks at all times when not seated in their assigned seat.
  • All staff will be required to wear masks, adhere to social distancing, and must pass a temperature check and health screening before entering the stadium on matchday.
  • BBVA Field will be a “cashless” environment for the 2020 season.

Home Schedule Released

Birmingham Legion FC against Atlanta United in February 2020. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Coinciding with the season opener announcement, the USL released the shortened 2020 schedule.  Here is the Legion FC home schedule at BBVA Field:

July 15 –  Legion FC v. Memphis 901 FC

July 25 – Legion FC v. Tampa Bay Rowdies

August 5 – Legion FC v. Charlotte Independence

August 8 – Legion FC v. Atlanta United 2

August 22 – Legion FC v. Memphis 901 FC

September 2 – Legion FC v. North Carolina FC

September 12 – Legion FC v. Charlotte Independence

September 26 – Legion F.C. v. North Carolina FC

A limited amount of single game tickets for this match are available for purchase HERE

Only Game in Time

If you are sports starved, evenings outdoors with the Legion could be a great way to get your fix. Iles and the Magic City Brigade are ready to welcome you.

“With the Barons season being cancelled it is a great opportunity for the Legion to be the only game in town this summer. More eyes will be on them, even in the strangest of circumstances. It’s a chance for our team to get some new fans. Folks should join us.”

Hammer Down Birmingham!!

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.