On a beautiful sunny Saturday Afternoon in downtown Houston, a big festival was forming while dignitaries from MLS, City of Houston, State of Texas and the members of the Dynamo were all on a stage showing everyone what will entail for this 22,000 seat stadium that will be ready for the 2012 season.
MLS President Mark Abbott, President and CEO of AEG Tim Leiweke, Golden Boy Productions President and part owner of the Dynamo Oscar De La Hoya and many other politicians from Houston and the State of Texas came to celebrate a major achievement for the game in the United States.
A large crowd of Dynamo supporters came together and watched a great video explaining and showing where the stadium will be built and what it will have besides the Dynamo matches on real turf. The stadium will be close to the Toyota Arena that is home to the NBA’s Rockets and Minute Maid Park that is home to MLB’s Astros.
As always these discussions to create new stadiums for the game in the states are always a tough sell to local governments. Finally after all the red tape that keeps on blocking these projects, all the problems have been solved. The state of Texas will have two soccer specific stadiums in the suburbs of Dallas and in 2012 the city of Houston will join them.
No matter how you slice it, these stadium projects are very important to grow the league and grow the game in this country. I know I have always sounded like a broken record, but it still has to be said and it’s a reminder. Before we can implement all these things that has worked well in Europe, stadiums must be built and stop paying rent to facilities that our clubs don’t own.
Just as it’s exciting to see Sporting Kansas City building their stadium and starting in the middle of this season, PGE Park is making a transition to being a permanent Soccer stadium in Portland, Oregon. You can now add to the list of soccer specific stadiums in North America like Toyota Park (CHI), Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (COL), Crew Stadium (CLB), Pizza Hut Park (DAL), Home Depot Center (LA & CHV), Red Bull Arena (NY), PPL Park (PHI), Rio Tinto Stadium (RSL), and BMO Field (TOR).
Once again another home field advantage for our US Men’s & Women’s National Team is when it comes to friendly matches or World Cup Qualifying and a possible CONCACAF Gold Cup venue for the 2013 tournament. I know a few supporters who follow the Houston Dynamo that are very happy that this day has finally come. My good friend Warren Jones, Stacy Smith, of course Brian Zygo who was a guest on the MLS Talk Podcast, and of course Glenn Davis who covers the club on local Houston TV.
In my heart I am happy this day has come as well. It strengthens our players, the local supporters of Houston and our league to become better and better every single year. But once again more needs to be done to make our league stronger. We can’t sit back and assume it’s done, there should be something happening in our nation’s Capitol when it comes to DC United (as well as New England Revolution in the Boston area) to create new homes for the game.