The property was opened as Meinen Field around 1968 and opened as a baseball facility in 1970 for Bradley University Braves baseball. Its name was chosen to honor Bradley athletic director and baseball coach John "Dutch" Meinen. It served as the home field for Bradley baseball for 32 years, from 1970 to 2002, and the home field for the Peoria Chiefs from their first game on April 19, 1983 to 2002.
The baseball field was renovated twice: once in 1982, and once in 1992 when it was given a $2,200,000 overhaul. The facility was renamed Pete Vonachen Stadium at Meinen Field on June 6, 1992.
After the teams moved to O'Brien Field early in the 2002 season, the university began to look for other uses for Meinen Field, eventually settling on its current setup as a soccer-only facility. It was substantially reconfigured, with a few remnants of its baseball days remaining: the old press box; most of the first-base seating area, which now forms the main seating area for the soccer field; some of the light standards; and the concession stands and some other outbuildings on the property.
On October 25, 2002, Meinen Field was renamed Shea Stadium after Tim Shea, a Bradley University alumnus. The first Bradley soccer game at the newly renovated Shea Stadium was in August 2003.
On June 10, 2008, Shea Stadium played host to two Major League Soccer teams in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier when the Chicago Fire played against the Columbus Crew in front 3,829 people, the largest crowd ever to see a soccer game at Shea Stadium.
Read more about this topic: Shea Stadium (Peoria, Illinois)
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