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Seahawks Prepare For First NFL Game At StubHub Center

The Seahawks open their preseason at the StubHub Center, a stadium several players are familiar with from their high school days.

It has been nine years, but based on the tone of his voice, Seahawks defensive end Cassius Marsh still isn't over it, not entirely.

"We got snubbed," Marsh said.

The snub in question happened in 2008 when Marsh was a junior at Oaks Christian High School. The Lions went undefeated that year, including a blowout victory over Paul Richardson's Junipero Serra High, but they were left out of the CIF Division III Championship game, a game played at the stadium currently known as the StubHub Center.

"We were undefeated, we smashed Serra, who won the championship the next year," Marsh said.

A snub meant that Marsh missed out on a chance to play in the StubHub Center while in high school, but now he and the rest of the Seahawks will get a chance to play there when they open preseason play Sunday. The SubHub Center has long been the home of Major League Soccer's L.A. Galaxy, but it is now also serving as the temporary home of the relocated Los Angeles Chargers.

For a few seasons, the pitch will become a gridiron on fall Sundays; clocks will count down from 15, not up to 45; uniforms will replace kits; and offside will be signaled with a thrown flag, not one being raised by a linesman. But while football at the NFL level is new for the StubHub Center, it's not entirely foreign for several Seahawks.

Richardson's team won a championship there a year after losing to Marsh's snubbed Lions, with Richardson scoring a touchdown in a close victory over Marin Catholic.

"For a high school game it was really cool," Richardson said. "It'll be fun to play there again. A lot of our team's from Cali, so it'll be like we're at home."

Having recruited in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is also very familiar with the StubHub Center, and thinks a packed, smaller stadium will make for a good game-day experience.

"I've been there quite a bit; it's a beautiful stadium," Carroll said. "It's going to be interesting. It will be overflowing I'm sure, which is great. It is a good place to watch a game."

Richard Sherman's Dominguez High School squad also played at StubHub—then the Home Depot Center—in 2005, claiming the CIF Southern Sectional Division III championship. 

"My last high school game was there," Sherman said. "We won the championship against Sherman Oaks Norte Dame. Me and Jeron Johnson—and a lot of other players obviously. It's a fun stadium to play in. Pretty small for an (NFL) stadium."

As Sherman points out, one of the most interesting elements of the Chargers playing at the StubHub Center is it's tiny, by NFL standards, capacity. Even with extra seats added for NFL games, capacity will still max out at about 30,000, well under half of CenturyLink Field's capacity, and about a third of that of some of the NFL's biggest stadiums.

"The field is great," Sherman said. "They take care of the ground, so if you've got 100 and 53 1/3 (yards) you're going to be good out there."

Sherman borrowed a line from Russell Wilson referencing the field dimensions, and the Seahawks quarterback also has no problem with the idea of playing in an undersized stadium.

"You know, I would play football on the concrete if I could," said Wilson, who has worked out at the StubHub center in past offseasons. "I don't care where we play at. As long as there's some white lines and (markers) telling me what's a first down, what's the end zone, I'm good… I used to train there all the time, so yeah, it's exciting."

Center Justin Britt echoed that happy-to-play-anywhere sentiment: "I'd be fine playing in a parking lot. As long as we're playing football, it doesn't matter where we're playing." 

Preseason games don't always move the needle for casual fans, but a first look at the NFL in a soccer stadium should add an interesting element to the Seahawks opener. And in addition to roster hopefuls trying to win jobs, we know at least one Seahawk who will be extra motivated for his first game at the StubHub Center.

"I never got to play over there," Marsh said. "But I should have."

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