WINTHROP — There’s a buzz making its way through the Winthrop community as the new football season’s on the horizon. Plenty of changes have made their way through the Vikings’ football program, highlighted by a new head coach in Jonathan Cadigan. And unlike the past two seasons, Winthrop will have the opportunity to play in front of its home fans this fall with a new and refurbished Miller Field ready to house the Vikings.
The new Miller Field took roughly two years to complete. Winthrop moved to East Boston for its home games in 2016 and played on the road for the majority of 2017. The lone exception was the 2017 Thanksgiving Day game against rival Revere, which was the first game played at Miller Field.
“Everything ran as if we had the stadium for the past 15 years,” Winthrop Athletic Director Matt Serino said of last fall’s Thanksgiving Day game. “The fans were respectful, both teams were respectful. For the amount of people we had here, I don’t think I had to do too much. Everything went great. It was awesome.
“The Miller Field Committee did a great job making sure everything was ready,” Serino said. “They made the transition to Thanksgiving painless.”
Serino feels as though it won’t take long for the new stadium to become a staple of Winthrop football tradition.
“The kids had the opportunity to play at Fenway Park on Thanksgiving (last fall),” Serino said. “The kids wanted to play here. There’s so much pride that comes with playing here. Their grandfathers, fathers, uncles all played here. There’s so much tradition not just playing high school football here but playing on this field.
“Coach Cadigan and his staff have done a good job in their first year getting the kids prepared and instilling the pride and tradition this town has always had,” Serino said. “They’re doing a great job, especially now with this new field, re-teaching them about the pride and tradition that comes with playing on this field.”
Serino said there’s a wave of excitement among the players as they gear up to play their first full home season since 2015. The team has practiced at the new field, located next to Winthrop High, and held a scrimmage there Thursday evening.
“You can definitely see it in the short few days we’ve had and during that glimpse they got on Thanksgiving,” Serino said. “You can see in the past couple of days, there’s excitement when they’re walking to practice. They definitely have an extra hop in their step when they’re coming out here. Having a home field is an extra incentive for them.”
Some of the stadium’s new features include an all-turf field, a track around the football field and bleachers that seat a capacity of 2,500. The Vikings will play five regular season home games at Miller Field this fall, including their first four games (against Pentucket, Medford, Swampscott and Lynnfield) of the 2018 season.
“We lucked out the schedule worked out that way with our first four games at home,” Serino said.
The new stadium has also built excitement among the Winthrop High fans and community. Serino said the stadium was opened to the public through the summer and those who’ve visited have come away impressed with the facility.
“I can tell you they’re ecstatic they don’t have to get in their cars and drive to games,” Serino said. “They’re extremely excited to see football back in Winthrop on Friday nights. We’ve had people coming by. We’ve opened it up for community hours for the public to come in and walk by. They’ve made it a point to stop by here because they’ve heard how beautiful the stadium is.”