This past Tuesday on April 14th was the topping off of the steel construction of Red Bull Arena and even though the authentic natural turf hasn’t been installed yet, it doesn’t really matter to be honest, because you can see the beauty of the stadium and you can dream right away of how it will shine in the day, night, overcast or sun.
New Jersey Politicians came to Harrison, NJ to join in on the fun with the ceremonies. Harrison Mayor Raymond McDonough, Hudson County Executive Thomas A. DeGise. U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg & Robert Menendez, New Jersey Senate President Richard J. Codey & from the Governor’s office of economic growth Chief Jerry Zaro joined in on the fun with members of the Red Bulls front office and coaching staff with MLS Commishioner Don Garber in Attendance.
Watching the video on the Red Bulls official site of the final piece of steel being connected to one of two giant screens on the north & south sides of the stadium was such a wonderful moment in my eyes. Ever since Lamar Hunt got behind Major League Soccer like he did back in the glory days of the NASL as we all know created the very first Soccer Specific Stadium that is Columbus Crew Stadium. The only home that we in this area have ever known for soccer either in NASL, MLS & the US National Team was at Giants Stadium. Well now that the Red Bull Arena is at the halfway point and will be completed before the 2010 MLS Season this is the official final season of Giants Stadium. This will be the last season to play on the field turf, the last season to see the NFL grid lines during both the Giants & the Jets seasons, the last time a ball will be bouncing so hard and high. No more interference and no more hooligan stadium security guards runed by the NJSEA who hates the sport and the fans with a passion. Sure they want to make the money if the USA wins a World Cup Tournament either in 2018 or 2022, but they still hate the sport.
The next phase of construction is to add the rows in the upper deck, add the seats, finish building the main offices, locker rooms, TV & Radio Studios and the suites. There has been three different events at that site in Harrison, NJ. The groundbreaking ceremony late 2006 MLS Season, the First piece of Steel erected towards the middle of the 2008 season & now the topping off ceremony of steel construction this past Tuesday. The next great ceremony will be one of two dates. If the Red Bulls right their ship and have a successful CONCACAF Champions League campaign they could host a Quarterfinal match in early 2010, or if they flop early in the Qualifying Round or in the Group Stage, it will be the start of the 2010 MLS Season.
There has been plenty of delays before this project finally got off the ground. If it wasn’t for all the stupid and silly red tape of typical NJ Government politics or the former President of the NJSEA George Zoffinger going against A.E.G. when they owned the Metros and nearly 3/4ths of the league five years ago. Finally the NYC/Northern NJ area has a place to go to see their club play (Not ignoring the USL-1st Expansion side FC New York, but right now they have shown no plans or designs of building their own stadium. But I do know they do want to build one.) exciting football and finally calling Red Bull Arena home.
As I have said so many times, this is the proper way of making our league and US Soccer better. Building our own stadiums & stop paying rent to play in facilities that the pro sides can’t control both in MLS & USL. Finally the greatest city in the world will have the ability to use public transit with the PATH Station that is directly across the street & NJ Transit Train Station to get into the Harrison/Newark area as well as Amtrak for visiting supporters like DC United, the Revolution and 2010 expansion side Philadelphia. It’s a glorious day to be an American Soccer fan, it’s a fantastic time to be a Red Bull Supporter.
Red Bull Arena Webcam http://www.earthcam.com/clients/redbullarena/