Written By Dahlia Chaudhury
Our hometown team and DC SCORES partner D.C. United has officially broken ground on their brand-new soccer stadium, Audi Field.
While the list of speakers at Monday's groundbreaking included some DCU stars, it also featured our very own Amidon-Bowen poet-athletes as the afternoon's opening act. The three students, Laura, Daniel, and Martin, performed their poem, "All This and All That I Hear About Soccer," for the large crowd. The poem featured lines such as "Because we use our skills to score goals," "I have fun by supporting my team," and "DC SCORES united as one!" The performance garnered laughs and a thunderous applause from the fans at the event.
DC SCORES Executive Director Bethany Rubin Henderson also spoke to the crowd about the partnership between D.C. United and DC SCORES. Following Bethany, emcee and the voice of D.C. United Dave Johnson took the stage to introduce a plethora of other special guests.
The first speaker was Jason Levien, a Managing Partner of D.C. United. Levien is a long-time DCU fan and spoke to the crowd about how our community has been anxiously awaiting this stadium. Then, talking about how our city can unite around soccer, Levien said, "We're building a house of worship for soccer in this city."
The next speaker was District Mayor Muriel Bowser. She told the attendees about her excitement for the partnership between D.C. United and the community, and how the new stadium would pave the way for jobs and economic opportunity in the area. "World class cities have world class sports teams and facilities," Bowser said. "I wanted to make sure that this team was here to stay with us and that they were going to continue to invest in Washington D.C. and the best fans anywhere in the world."
The list of speakers afterwords was star-studded: Don Garber, the MLS Commissioner; Scott Keogh, Audi of America President; and of course D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen, who talked about what the new field meant to him as a former DCU player.
The audience was excited to hear from D.C. native and D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who touched on his experiences as a child going to games in RFK stadium. "I hope Audi Field can give generations of young boys and girls the motivation RFK gave me to go after my dreams," he said.
D.C. Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen also spoke. Allen talked, like the mayor, about how the new field will benefit the community, but gave a specific shoutout to two of our DCS schools, Amidon-Bowen and Jefferson Middle School!
After all the speakers, it was finally time to officially break ground. The star-studded cast all grabbed their hard hats emblazoned with the D.C. United logo and shovels that read "Audi Field" in red and white. Johnson directed them all to stick their shovels in a trough of dirt that sat in front of them, and then the picture-taking began.
Going to the ceremony was such a cool experience, and we're all very excited for the 2018 opening of Audi Field. Vamos United!