American Legion Memorial Stadium is a historical monument which first opened its gates in 1936 as a project of the Works Progress Administration. The stadium was named in honor of local soldiers who fought, and fell, in World War I.
Throughout its history the stadium hosted a variety of events including Presidential addresses and professional wrestling matches. The site was also home to the former Charlotte (Central) High School, now Garinger High School.
Charlotte’s First Professional Soccer Team
In 1981, American Legion Memorial Stadium hosted Charlotte’s first professional soccer team, the Carolina Lightnin’, during their American Soccer League (ASL) Championship in front of 20,163 fans.
High School & Professional Football
In 1985, the site played host to a preseason United States Football League (USFL) game between the Baltimore Stars and the Tampa Bay Bandits.
From 1937 to 2000, the stadium hosted the Shrine Bowl, an annual match-up between the top high school football players in North and South Carolina.
More recently, American Legion Memorial Stadium served as the home field for the Charlotte Hounds Major League Lacrosse (MLL) team.
Eighty-one years later, conversations started about the possibility of renovating the stadium to accommodate professional soccer in the Queen City. By September 2019, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation broke ground on a $40 million dollar rebuild of the historic stadium. It was announced that the new American Legion Memorial Stadium would become home to the USL Championship’s Charlotte Independence. First kick took place on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.
The new stadium, located in the heart of the Elizabeth neighborhood, now features an updated concourse, a modern scoreboard, skyline views and a historic World War I memorial at the entrance.
Today, American Legion Memorial Stadium remains one of the best soccer-specific stadiums in the United Soccer League (USL).