- Obama military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
FLOYD: Time to make United’s field a dream come true
Question of the Day
It’s quite easy to breed cynicism. So any wariness regarding D.C. United’s new ownership group, introduced Tuesday at a classy affair atop the W Hotel, is understandable. We’ve seen the pomp and circumstance before. But when it comes to finding the club a soccer-specific stadium, the D.C. faithful know not to get their hopes up.
In choosing his new co-owners, however, Will Chang sure has pieced together a balanced mesh of personalities, skill sets and business assets to complement his own. If the formula is as effective in practice as it is in theory, United fans might look back on July 10, 2012, as the day the organization’s fate finally changed for the better.
“My dream is to find a permanent home for D.C. United,” Chang said. “I have found the perfect partners to fulfill my dream.”
Chang in May 2009 became the club’s sole investor when he purchased the interest of partner Victor MacFarlane, a fellow Northern California businessman, following the team’s failed stab at building a stadium in Prince George’s County - a debacle that included jumping the gun with an overly optimistic news conference.
It was a financial commitment Chang never intended to make, and one the pragmatic Thohir is willing to largely absorb.
“You will not become rich owning a soccer team,” Thohir laughed. “Trust me.”
But the wild card here is Levien. A former NBA player agent and executive with the Sacramento Kings, Levien clearly knows the industry. More intriguingly, though, he’s a onetime attorney who served as a staffer in the Clinton administration, grabbed a degree from Georgetown and lived in the D.C. area for a decade, attending some United matches. While he is now based in New York, he owns a home in the District.
That makes him uniquely qualified to be United’s point man when it comes to stadium negotiations amid the political maze of red tape, scandal and hearsay that is the beleaguered D.C. government. On Tuesday, Levien had no qualms taking center stage at an event many figured would be centered on his more monetarily impactful partner.
Levien was brash and charismatic, employing confident rhetoric when fielding question after question on the stadium issue. And that is what the organization needs.
“We see a pathway” to a stadium, Levien said. “We also know we’re going to have to use our machete to get there. … They’re in a holding pattern, and we need to get out of that holding pattern and land this plane.”
If nothing else, the man wields a mean metaphor.
Thohir, meanwhile, also is the soccer brain in this equation, the one with big ideas who spoke knowledgably about building the roster and said he’d love to dig into his wallet for the right high-profile players.
As Levien pointed out, producing a winning product can only help in the bid for a stadium, which likely would be at the Buzzard Point property near Nationals Park. Playing at cavernous and crumbling RFK Stadium, United have trudged along at the worst facility in a league that every year rolls out more modern, intimate venues to much fanfare.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Luis Silva realizes potential in D.C. United playmaking role
- United, D.C. hope this new stadium plan will be the last
- Jared Jeffrey returns to U.S. in search of playing time after European tour
- Sonny Silooy's career has evolved from standout defender to standout talent developer
- Alain Rochat adjusts to D.C. United move with growing family on his mind
Latest Blog Entries
- Jason Levien, Ben Olsen discuss D.C. United's $300M stadium plan
- Conor Doyle loan continues D.C. United youth movement
- Ben Olsen discusses trading Brandon McDonald to Real Salt Lake
- Interview outtakes: Sonny Silooy
- Hello Luis Silva, Collin Martin, goodbye Alain Rochat: Breaking down D.C. United's busy day
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- EDITORIAL: For too many gays, 'tolerance' is a one-way street
- PRUDEN: Cooling the manufactured impeachment panic
- HUSAIN: Fleeing Iraqi Christians find safe haven at the Shrine of Imam Ali
- Feds accept boredom, lack of work as excuses for surfing porn on clock
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world