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Sports fans from all over the capital congregated in Southwest D.C. Monday afternoon to celebrate the completion of D.C. United’s new stadium, Audi Field.
The 20,000-seat stadium will open its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday, when United takes on the Vancouver Whitecaps.The arena will host sporting events, concerts, and community activities, shining the spotlight onto Southwest D.C.
“This really does feel like a new era for D.C. United,” United CEO Jason Levien exclaimed to the hundreds of fans in attendance. Levien emphasized the immense impact the stadium will have on the surrounding community, calling the area “D.C.’s hottest new neighborhood.”
The stadium covers 500,000 square feet of Southwest’s Buzzard Point, making it an icon of the area. The arena stands out prominently along the Anacostia River, visible to those even miles away.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser attended to praise the stadium’s impact on both the team and the city. “We have made the investments necessary to not only be the capital of the country, but to also be the capital of sports,” Bowser said.
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber also addressed the crowd: “This is something that will go down forever in the history of professional sports,” Garber also praised the stadium for its potential to help influence the MLS’s growth throughout the country.
Wayne Rooney, United’s newest player, also made an appearance to loud applause. As England’s leading goal scorer, the star made headlines last month after signing with United and taking his talents to Major League Soccer. Rooney spoke about the stadium saying,“It played a big part in me coming here.” Rooney will play with United for the first time on Saturday.
As the crowd erupted, Muriel Bowser cut the ribbon, signaling a new chapter for the city.
“Stories will be told in the community about the moments we will share here at Audi Field,” Levien said.