Wednesday December 17th, 2014

The Washington D.C. council approved the development of a new stadium for Major League Soccer’s D.C. United, the club announced Wednesday.

The 20,000-to-25,000-seat stadium is scheduled to open by the 2017 season in the Buzzard Point neighborhood of the city. It is expected to cost nearly $200 million, according to The Washington Post

D.C. United managing general partner Jason Levien thanked the city’s leadership for passing the District of Columbia Soccer Stadium Development Act of 2014.

“We are grateful that D.C. United’s future in our nation’s capital is secure,” Levien said. “This is a historic victory for the team and its fans, the city, the region and the sport of soccer in this country. I am deeply appreciative of the efforts of many city leaders, including Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser, City Administrator Allen Y. Lew and the D.C. Council.”

• STRAUS: D.C. United's everlasting stadium quest nears end

The city has tried for more than a decade to get the go-ahead to fund a new stadium. Since the franchise was founded in 1995, the club has played its home games at 53-year-old RFK Stadium, the former home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins.

MLS commissioner Don Garber congratulated the ownership group on receiving the green light and said it is an important step for the league.

“Soccer specific stadiums provide our clubs, their players and fans with a true home that establishes a permanent foundation for the sport,” Garber added.  “As importantly, these stadiums provide young players throughout the United States and Canada the opportunity to dream about playing on the same field their hometown MLS clubs compete on every day.

“One of the real legacies of Major League Soccer is that our owners have built a foundation for the sport with soccer stadiums that has helped transform the sport in the United States and Canada.

"These stadiums have made a difference in our local communities, and we certainly believe the new D.C. United Stadium will provide an enormous community benefit to the Buzzard Point neighborhood.”

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United was the top seed in the Eastern Conference after finishing with a club record 59 points, and Ben Olsen was named MLS Coach of the Year. The club lost to the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

- Scooby Axson

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