City pressured to build soccer stadium

April 16, 2008 4:57:35 PM PDT
It's no secret the Houston Dynamo may be close to getting a soccer stadium right here in the Bayou City. But Eyewitness News has learned that the mayor is not happy with some added pressure from Major League Soccer.For soccer fans of the city, a move away from the University of Houston to a soccer specific stadium for the Dynamo seems only fitting.

"Robertson Stadium is old," said soccer fan Lennie Ambrose. "You know, it's adequate for them now. It's adequate for the Houston Cougars, but I think it would be really cool."

But the ongoing negotiations between the team and the city have stalled. Today, Mayor Bill White revealed that the commissioner of Major League Soccer sent a letter voicing his concern last week. It said, in pretty clear language, if the city won't help build the stadium the back to back MLS champions will move. Mayor White is not amused.

He said, "I've gotten a little bit of a reputation, probably deserved, that I don't respond well to threats."

Mayor White says he believes both the city and the Dynamo want a resolution, but the team simply wants more financial support than the city is willing to give. Today's revelation of the letter surprised even council members, who say they haven't been told a thing.

"Part of the problem is we on council have not been briefed," explained council member James Rodriguez. "So I don't know how far we are in the negotiations, how those are going. We'd like a little bit more information."

As for the Dynamo, General Manager Oliver Luck says he's committed to Houston and doesn't want to jeopardize negotiations.

"We'll continue to work hard," he promised. "We've no desire to look anywhere else but here in Houston and this area. We think the location the city has purchase makes all the sense in the world."

The stadium, if built, is expected to cost $105 million. The mayor has said he doesn't want to spend any taxpayer money to build that stadium. The Dynamo say they need some help from a public entity. That is where the negotiations hinge at this point.

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