D.C. United are on the verge of revamping the club’s ownership, as Philadelphia 76ers minority owners Erick Thohir and Jason Levien have reached an agreement to invest in the club, ESPN reported Friday.
The duo, pending MLS approval, would become co-owners of the organization alongside Will Chang, who became the franchise’s majority owner when Victor MacFarlane sold his stake in the club in 2009. Chang now is United’s sole investor.
The news has been expected, with club president Kevin Payne publicly acknowledging the need to find additional investors. The Washington Post first named Thohir as a potential investor several months ago, and the Indonesian media magnate was spotted attending a United training session at RFK Stadium in May.
Levien’s name, though, is new. A former NBA player agent, Levien also had a stint working in the Sacramento Kings’ front office.
In no surprise, ESPN’s sources say Thohir and Levien’s top priority will be constructing United a soccer-specific stadium. In November, I documented United’s urgent quest to find a home more formidable than crumbling RFK.
In March, United announced a lease extension with Events DC that will keep the club at RFK through the 2013 season. Under the agreement, capacity for league matches has been capped at 19,647.
EX-D.C. FORWARD DAVIES FINDS NEW HOME
American striker Charlie Davies, who spent 2011 on loan to United and left the club in December when D.C. declined to purchase his contract, has signed with Danish side Randers FC, the player announced on his Twitter account Friday.
Davies, 26, returned to Sochaux, his parent team in France, after his stint in the nation’s capital but made just two appearances off the bench during the Ligue 1 season, which ended in May.
“Today is a very big day, I’m happy to announce I have signed with Randers FC!” Davies tweeted.
Davies was a starter on the U.S. national team before suffering major injuries in a fatal October 2009 car accident on the George Washington Parkway in Virginia. The accident sidelined him for a year and a half, derailing his hopes of playing in the 2010 World Cup.
In May of last year, I told the story of Davies’ long road back. Although he scored 11 goals in 26 games for United, he fell out of favor down the stretch as D.C. failed to make the playoffs for the fourth-straight season.
ALL-STAR FIRST XI TO BE ANNOUNCED SUNDAY
MLS on Sunday, during ESPN’s broadcast of the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Chicago Fire, will announce the All-Star First XI for the squad United coach Ben Olsen will lead July 25 against European champion Chelsea FC at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
Fan voting will determine the First XI, while picks from Olsen and commissioner Don Garber will round out the game-day squad, which will be revealed July 15. Olsen can then choose his starting lineup from any players on the roster.
Reigning league MVP Dwayne De Rosario, who leads MLS with 10 assists, will likely be a First XI choice. United’s other All-Star nominees are goalkeeper Bill Hamid, midfielders Perry Kitchen and Nick DeLeon, midfielder-forward Chris Pontius, and striker Maicon Santos.