Major League Soccer

D.C. United to Get Its Own Soccer-Specific Stadium

The Washington D.C. Council approved a new soccer stadium on Wednesday, giving long-suffering D.C. United fans hope for a venue worthy of their passion.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
December 17, 2014
7:41 PM
IN THE 18-YEAR HISTORY of Major League Soccer, one of the toughest battles in league history has taken place off the field: a decade-plus struggle to get D.C. United its own stadium. This effort is finally has now come to a successful conclusion as the Washington D.C. Council approved a bill for a new stadium on Wednesday.

The stadium will be located on Buzzard Point in the southwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., at the point where the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers meet. The proposed stadium would not be far from Navy Yard Metro station and Nationals Park—home of baseball’s Washington Nationals.

The goal is now for the $300 million stadium to be completed in time for the 2017 MLS season. It is estimated that the stadium will fit between 20,000-25,000 people.

“We congratulate D.C. United ownership, Erick Thohir, Jason Levien, and Will Chang, and the District government for creating an innovative partnership to bring a world-class soccer stadium to Washington, D.C.,” MLSCommissioner Don Garber said. “This is a historic moment for Major League Soccer, as D.C. United, one of our charter clubs, will soon have a terrific venue to celebrate the beautiful game in one of America's most passionate soccer markets."

The timeline of the deal would mean that the 2016 season would be the 20th and final season for D.C. United at aging—some might say decrepit—RFK stadium. The venue has been in decline for more than 20 years, ever since the Washington Redskins moved away.

While the new stadium will be sized for the modern game in the United States, RFK had some terrific soccer moments and at times could be among the loudest outdoor stadiums in the country. The 1994 World Cup hosted games there as did the 1996 Olympics—including a U.S. game against Portugal.

D.C. United hosted the second MLS Cup at RFK in 1997 in front of 57,431 spectators. Many MLS players and coaches had their best moments at RFK, and David Beckham made his MLS debut there.

RFK will best be known in soccer circles as a terrific home for the U.S. national team, which played 22 international matches there. The most recent game was played on June 2, 2013 and saw the U.S. defeat Germany 4-3.

With D.C. United's stadium deal now completed, the New England Revolution are the last original MLS team without its own soccer-specific stadium.

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