For the first time since 2019, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will be the site of an internal migration on Saturdays, with fans from all over convening to pack the seats of the storied stadium. The buzz around the stadium will once again be heard for miles.
USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn announced June 15 that the Coliseum would once again host crowds at 100% capacity in Fall 2021. Athletic events in the stadium will also adhere to California Department of Public Health coronavirus guidelines surrounding outdoor events, including mask wearing and submitting proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test results. However, guidelines are set to be reevaluated no later than Sept. 1.
“We thank our fans in advance for their willingness to follow those protocols so we can all enjoy watching the Trojans,” the statement read.
The news was met with enthusiasm from students and fans on social media, as many students will get their first opportunity to witness a Trojan football game in person. After a 5-1 season with a conference championship appearance, head coach Clay Helton has generated ample excitement surrounding next season’s team, coming off of a strong recruiting campaign. Ranked the seventh best recruiting class in the nation by 247 Sports, the group is highlighted by five-star defensive lineman Korey Foreman and four-star quarterbacks Miller Moss and Jaxson Dart.
But there will be none more excited that fans will be allowed back into the Coliseum than the players and coaches on the field, who rely on the energy from the home crowd to pump them up throughout the game. In a September 2020 press conference, Helton said the fans would be missed after the Pac-12 announced that stadiums would be empty for the 2020 season.
“There’s going to be an extreme sense of urgency for players and coaches alike to … manufacture their own energy and to let it ripple through the team,” Helton said.
Now, with fans returning, the players and coaches on the sidelines won’t be entirely responsible for producing their own energy, and will be able to feed off the excitement of the home fans for the first time since 2019.
The Coliseum can hold up to 77,500 spectators, making it the 25th largest college football stadium by capacity in the country. A $315 million renovation which reduced the capacity of the stadium from 93,000 was completed in 2019, partially in preparation to be one of the host stadiums for the 2028 Olympic Games.
The USC football home opener is set for Sept. 4, as the Trojans face San Jose State.