D.C. United held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally introduce Audi Field, the new soccer-specific stadium in the Buzzard Point neighborhood of Washington, Monday afternoon.
The club will host its first game at the stadium Saturday night.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Council members Jack Evans and Charles Allen, newly-signed star player Wayne Rooney and Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber were among those on hand to speak to a crowd of fans.
Bowser joined Jason Levien, United’s CEO and managing general owner, to cut the ribbon. Levien called the stadium “world-class.”
“Our club remains the most decorated in U.S. soccer history with 13 trophies,” Levien said. “And as of today, our club, D.C. United, finally has a home fortress befitting of its legacy.”
Bowser tied in that legacy — which includes four MLS Cups and three U.S. Open Cups — into her and Evans’ practice of calling Washington the nation’s “sports capital.”
“I want to thank all of our players, staff and coaches who have made us champions in Washington, D.C., long before we got a Stanley Cup,” Bowser said.
As he has said before, Rooney mentioned that the owners’ enthusiasm for the new facilities — Audi Field and a training ground set to open next year — helped convince him to join the club earlier this year. Rooney is expected to make his United debut Saturday when the team hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps in the first match in stadium history.
It’s a match Rooney and his teammates no doubt want to win.
“I’ll see you all on Saturday,” Rooney told the crowd, “and hopefully — three points.”