Dynamo could get new stadium

January 11, 2008 4:51:12 AM PST
Houston soccer fans may soon have a new place to do their cheering. After winning back to back national titles, the Dynamo are one step closer to winning a soccer stadium deal. The team currently plays at UH's Robertson Stadium, but thanks to a move by city council today, the team is one step closer to calling Minute Maid Park its neighbor.

It's far from a done deal, but soccer fans do have something to cheer about. There is now a letter of intent for a soccer stadium site and another potential facility for young soccer players in the Houston area.

When the Houston Dynamo won back to back Major League Soccer championships, fans at their last pep rally only wanted one more thing, their own soccer stadium. Today, Mayor Bill White said they are a step closer to that reality.

"The city has signed a letter to acquire several blocks east of 59," he said.

The city of Houston is in discussions to acquire a six block area just east of Minute Maid Park which could be used for a stadium. In addition, it's also in talks to acquire a large parcel of land near 288 and Almeda Genoa. It would used to build a youth soccer practice facility.

"The idea is about 18 fields big," Mayor White said. "It's one of the biggest things to appear in amateur sports in this city in a long, long time."

The mayor said today that he wants to build the youth soccer facility whether or not the Dynamo deal goes through. That's because while the city is acquiring land, it wants the stadium to be built with private funds which requires more negotiating. But for local soccer fans, any stadium news is good news.

"It just means good things," said soccer fan Lorne Tedder. "For all of us to go to a soccer specific stadium, and not have to see football lines, and only see soccer lines in the stadium."

Any land acquisition would require city council approval and the mayor's still looking for school districts to partner up on the practice facility and he admitted today's announcement is a bit ahead of schedule.

"I'll answer a direct a question, [but] I was hoping to line some of it up before we did the announcement," the mayor told us.

The Houston Dynamo did not want to talk on camera but did issue a statement saying it's still in discussions with the city. Again, any movement will have to be approved by city council.

The Dynamo played its first game in Houston in April of 2006. Around 25,000 fans attended that game. Since then, the team has won two MLS cups. The Dynamo's lease at Robertston Stadium ends at the end of this year.

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