When you start a new soccer team, even the fans need some practice.
That’s one reason Forward Madison FC will host an early-season scrimmage against the Wisconsin Badgers on Tuesday, April 16.
The Flamingos have several indoor scrimmages against other professional teams ahead of their season opener April 6 at Chattanooga Red Wolves. The April 16 fixture against the Badgers would be the club’s — and supporters’ — first look at the newly renovated Breese Stevens Field, where Forward will begin hosting home matches April 27 against Greenville Triumph SC.
“We wanted a match that would be a bit of a dry run, operationally for the staff, and a dry run for the fans too so they can learn where to park, how to cheer,” said Forward Madison Managing Director Peter Wilt, comparing it to the “soft opening” that many restaurants employ when they’re just getting started.
“It’s part of the development process for the teams, as well as the front office and the fans,” Wilt said. “It’s been a long time building up for the fans especially. They’ll be very intrigued.”
The players will be, too — especially for Carl Schneider, the former Badger who will take the field against his old team.
Schneider, a Madison La Follette High School alum, has been in town training with the Badgers for a few weeks before starting training with Forward this week.
“It was nice to catch up with the coaches and get to know the newer guys,” said Schneider, who has been playing professionally in Sweden since graduating from UW in 2015. “It’ll be cool to actually roll the ball out and get to playing against them.”
He likes the Flamingos’ chances in the match.
“I hold the Badgers in really high esteem,” he said. “When I was playing in Sweden, I always thought my Badgers team could have beaten by Swedish team. But coming back, being three years removed from college, you realize those are really young guys. The Forward Madison guys are more experienced players.”
But he knows it won’t be a gimmie.
“If there’s one thing the Badgers can do it’s grit and grind. It won’t be easy,” he said.
“We are very excited for the opportunity to play Forward Madison,” said UW Head Coach Joh Trask in a statement. “This match will provide us the opportunity to expose our current student-athletes to another level of soccer. We look forward to an entertaining and challenging game, and will be thrilled to see UW alumnus Carl Schneider potentially representing Forward Madison.”
The stadium won’t be fully ready yet, Wilt said. All tickets will be $15 general admission seats in the grandstand and supporters section. The suites and hospitality sections won’t be open yet.
Tickets will go on sale soon.