Passion for football: Pittsburgh has another home opener this week

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The Pirates' home opener is history, so there's just one thing for Pittsburghers to do: Get ready for some football.

It's not unusual for discussions of football prospects to dominate conversations in Pittsburgh at any time of year, even as the Penguins make a playoff run and the Pirates have yet to disappoint. Some fans, though, believe that sports equals football period, and there is a way for them to satisfy their craving long before the start of Steelers training camp.

The Pittsburgh Passion, the professional women's team, will open the 2013 season in the Women's Football Alliance on Saturday against longtime rivals, the D.C. Divas.

The team will be playing in upgraded facilities this year, moving from Cupples Field on the South Side, home of city high school teams, to the new Highmark Stadium at Station Square. For the Passion, the venue provides more parking and plenty of room to engage in another football tradition -- pregame tailgating.

The $10.2 million, 3,500-seat stadium had its unofficial opening in December as an ice arena, but the rink has been removed and green turf revealed. Besides being the new home of the Passion, the facility will serve as the home field for the Riverhounds soccer team, the principal tenant, which will start its season April 13 against Harrisburg's City Islanders.

The Passion's 11th season will kick off at 7 p.m. Saturday, with gates opening at 5:30.

The team plays full-contact football, so don't dare call these games "powderpuff." The only thing light about these contests compared to the NFL is the cost of attending. General admission tickets are $18.45 and season passes for eight home games are $50 -- an inexpensive way to indulge a love of football in the springtime.



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