By Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — Pending approval by the county’s Board of Supervisors, D.C. United has an agreement with Loudoun County, Va., to move its corporate offices, training facility, and minor league soccer team to a new complex at Leesburg’s Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park.

This is the team’s second major move out of RFK Stadium, where the club had its home games and corporate headquarters. Sometime during the 2018 season, the club will begin home games at Audi Field, a state-of-the-art facility at Buzzard Point in D.C.

“Securing a site for a permanent training facility and a second division team has been a top priority for the club,” Dave Kasper, D.C. United’s GM, said in a statement. “We have been very pleased with the conversations we’ve had with Loudoun County officials to develop a site that will host a training facility, team offices, our youth development program and a second division professional team, and look forward to continuing those discussions.

“We believe that Loudoun County is an ideal location for these facilities and we will continue to work with county leaders to finalize an agreement.”

While the agreement has yet to be finalized ahead of the January 10 hearing, here are some of the details of the current deal:

  • The county will provide land for the facilities and approximately $15 million in financing to be repaid;
  • The club will construct four fields, offices, a training facility and an approximately 5,000-seat stadium;
  • Two of the fields will serve as the team practice fields and two of which will have shared use with the community.

The facilities will employ approximately 50 D.C. United staff and the stadium will be home to D.C. United’s second division team, which plays approximately 15 home games each season.

When not in use by the team, the stadium will be available for other purposes, including amateur and collegiate sports, concerts and community events. The parking lots will be used by the county during the week as a park and ride for mass transit.

Loudoun County is 25 miles from downtown D.C. but was was part of United’s consideration for the new stadium. In 2015, after having advanced negotiations with D.C., United was enticed by Loudoun’s offer to build a stadium faster and cheaper, which could have opened in 2017.

Club officials toured three sites in Loudoun County but ultimately rebuffed the offer and selected D.C.’s offer for Buzzard Point.

With this training facility agreement, Loudoun would still get its piece of the pie.

If approved by the Board of Supervisors, Loudoun will have its second major leagues sports headquarters, in addition to Redskins Park in Ashburn. To illustrate the growth of the outer suburbs, when the team moved its facilities to Ashburn in 1992, there were just 92,000 residents in Loudoun County.

Twenty-five years later, there are more than four times as many residents (384,000), with more than 50,000 alone in Leesburg. Rather than moving a training facility to the middle of nowhere, as the Redskins attempted in 1992, D.C. United is moving its team to a large and growing residential community.

According to studies, nearly half of D.C. United fans live in Northern Virginia, while just one-quarter of fans live in the district.

 

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