- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2001

Executives from the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, operators of RFK Stadium, are planning a European tour for this summer to collect ideas for the soccer-specific stadium that will be built adjacent to RFK.
Bobby Goldwater, DCSEC executive director, seeks to visit soccer stadiums in England's Premier League, the Bundesliga in Germany and other major Continental leagues. There is only one prominent soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. Columbus (Ohio) Crew Stadium and that bare bones facility does not meet the standards of what DCSEC officials and Phil Anschutz, lead investor of D.C. United, intend to build.
"We have a lot to learn. I think we can get a better sense of what we exactly need to execute this project from some of the facilities over there," Goldwater said. "We want to blend the best of what's there, and the best of what our teams here need."
Since Anschutz a Colorado billionaire who controls three other MLS teams purchased the operating rights to United in February, he, Goldwater and United president Kevin Payne have been working on plans to build a high-end, soccer-specific facility with a capacity of about 25,000. The stadium also would house the Washington Freedom of the Women's United Soccer Association, and possibly other local minor league soccer and lacrosse teams.
So far, the new stadium has been targeted for parking lot 8 next to RFK, with an opening date of spring 2003, but the location and timetable could change. The cost of the project also remains undetermined; Crew Stadium cost $28.5 million.
In addition to stadium negotiations between United and DCSEC, the two sides are negotiating for United to keep playing at the RFK complex long-term. United has operated under one-year leases for nearly its entire six-season existence. A multiyear commitment from United is expected in the next few weeks, and Goldwater said a contract would need to be signed before the Europe trip is made.
Meanwhile, United (4-7) yesterday called up defender Fred DeGand from its A-League affiliate in Hershey to address a manpower shortage for tomorrow's match at defending MLS champion Kansas City (5-6-1).
Midfielder Chino Alegria (red card) and defender Carey Talley (yellow card accumulation) must sit out this game; Bobby Convey, Eddie Pope and Ryan Nelsen are away on various national team duties, and Brian Kamler and Ben Olsen are injured.
The 22-year-old DeGand, a Bowling Green University product, has appeared in seven games for the Wildcats this season but has not scored. United coach Thomas Rongen also considered activating defender Ray Goodlett from the Richmond Kickers, another of United's A-League affiliates. United waived Goodlett last month.
Olsen also trained fully with teammates for the first time this season. Until yesterday, Olsen had been limited to running and working out on the side. The midfielder is recovering from right ankle surgery in March after he broke his ankle in February while on loan to English First Division club Nottingham Forest.
"It felt good for my mind frame to get out there, kick the ball around and actually pass the ball and have it mean something," Olsen said. "That's the first real workout I've had in three months. I'm rusty, my touch is rusty, but hopefully it will come back."
Olsen, a mainstay on the U.S. national team, is hoping to return for United's June 30 match against the Colorado Rapids at RFK but acknowledged that his return might be pushed back to early July.

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