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Hope for RFK

With baseball abandoning RFK Stadium this fall, the U.S. Soccer Federation has renewed its interest in utilizing the facility in the future for national team matches. The last official international match there was nearly three years ago, which is a shame because RFK was one of the top destinations for American teams until the Nationals arrived.

I spoke today with USSF CEO Dan Flynn, who said: "We very much like the Washington, D.C. market, so it would be a strong consideration for us as we look forward to the World Cup cycle. That being said, we always work with our head coach as to where he wants to play as well. I'm pretty confident that Bob has had a pretty good understanding of the tradition of playing in the Washington area."

Flynn also said Olympic qualifying is likely to take place in March and that the CONCACAF tournament might end up in Tampa. "There are some advantages to Florida with Bradenton and being able to train there. We also have to consider all the other teams. Florida is always a reasonable site for travel for other teams within CONCACAF. But CONCACAF hasn't made a final decision."

By Steve Goff  |  August 12, 2007; 2:49 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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Comments

Excellent news on RFK. Let's hope they can get the Northern stands re-setup prior to MLS Cup. Are you aware of their intentions for that yet?

Posted by: JkR | August 12, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

RFK is a great stadium -- was last there for DC v Chelsea last year. Just a great venue for soccer...thank goodness the pitcher's mound will be gone next year.

Posted by: New England Guy | August 12, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

DC United v. Chelsea was at FedEx Field in Maryland.

Posted by: I-66 | August 12, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Two words: Bring It!

Posted by: soccer nerd | August 12, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

DC United v. Chelsea was at FedEx Field in Maryland.

Posted by: I-66 | August 12, 2007 04:28 PM


Yes, correct, my mistake. I guess that means I haven't been to RFK since the 2002 all-star game. I'll have to come down for the NE @ DC match in September!

Posted by: New England Guy | August 12, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

You all can thank me. I reasoned with the USSF on bringing the nats back to D.C. via e-mail about a month ago.

And why haven't they been playing at FedEx Field over the past three years?

Posted by: rc | August 12, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

i mean, the yanks* my apologies.

Posted by: rc | August 12, 2007 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Also looking forward to USMNT games again at RFK!

Posted by: MEN | August 12, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

No offense intended to the DC-area crowd, as I do enjoy visiting. Having said that, RFK sucks a horse's @ss. The sooner it's torn down, the better.

RFK is an armpit and an eyesore. It's a shame that USSF is foolish enough to play a match there. It is similarly a shame that DCU plays their matches there as well.

Posted by: khan | August 12, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Khan,

No offense, but you have no idea what you're talking about.

There's more soccer history at RFK than at most venues in this country. There is more atmosphere there than at any other soccer venue in the country, and I've been to pretty much all of them for big matches.

Posted by: MattM | August 13, 2007 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Taking bets on Khan--Red Bulls or Galaxy fan?

Posted by: Logan Circle | August 13, 2007 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Yeah we have a lot of history at RFK, but that doesn't mean that it's not an "armpit and an eyesore" like Khan says. RFK Stadium is very old, and it definitely has seen better days. I've heard that it probably won't be structurely sound after another 4 to 5 years. However much we love the atmosphere at RFK for United games, we need to realize that our stadium isn't exactly the pinnacle of modern sports venues. So we shouldn't jump on Khan too much.

Posted by: dcfan | August 13, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Khan must be love landy-cakes and sleep in his galaxy jammies every night.

RFK is a great venue for soccer!! There needs to be a lot of work done to the Stadium but it is great - once they redo the pitch and flush that infield!!
It could be the largest soccer specific stadium in the US - SWEET!


Posted by: bobF | August 13, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I have had many great sporting experiences at RFK -- DCU, Diplomats, USMNT, Redskins and even the Nats, but it IS a tired old venue. The reason it is still worthy of consideration for USMNT matches is the atmosphere. It can really rock.

Posted by: KR in DC | August 13, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

RFK may not be the best venue around for soccer, but it's far from the worst. Even with all of the modifications for Nationals games the grass still looks good and it should look great once they're in their own place next year. Personally, I think they could stay at RFK if they could work things out with the city to do a ful lscale renovation on the place and open it up a bit. I've always thought it would look great if they took out the end chunks of the upper deck and restored the full around seating downstairs.

And no Khan, it's not structurally unsound. It does need some paint though. I think the USSF has avoided FedEx as the Deadskins probably want too much money to make it a regular venue and it's a pain to get into and out of anyway.

Posted by: EricS | August 13, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

RFK is an armpit and an eye-sore, but it also has arguably the best acoustics, atmosphere (the bounce), and history of any modern stadium still in use. The problem with it for DCU isn't the venue per se, but the lack of ownership and high operating costs. The USMNT will never own its own stadium, so RFK is a fine choice while it's still operable.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | August 13, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if it's an armpit and eyesore, but even compared to the new stadiums in Toronto and NE, the quality of the field is better, as evidenced by Beck's willingness only to play at RFK so far.

Besides, DCU found Moreno after he torched Agoos at RFK. Keep the games coming!

Posted by: Friendship Heights | August 13, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't Snyder and the Redskins have rights to the RFK site for future consideration? I'm not too sure. That's why I'm asking. But I thought I had heard that from somewhere.

Posted by: dcfan | August 13, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

MattM: "History" and "Atmosphere" at a venue is relative. But "History" and "Atmosphere" can't change the fact that RFK is devoid of most modern amenities found in newer facilities. "History" and "Atmosphere" can't change the fact that the sightlines of the venue aren't the best, given that RFK was made with baseball in mind. The "bouncy stands" are indeed fun. But they can't update the clubhouses and changing rooms for the teams.

Again, don't take this as an affront to DC, because it isn't. This is merely one man's opinion, and mine is that RFK sucks a horse's @ss.

Posted by: khan | August 13, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"It does need some paint though. I think the USSF has avoided FedEx as the Deadskins probably want too much money to make it a regular venue and it's a pain to get into and out of anyway."

Isn't FedEx Field also a non-actual-grass one? I'm sure the folks at FieldTurf probably greased some FIFA palms to allow the playing of the U-20s in Canada on plastic grass, but does USSF have any opinion on that?

Posted by: Juan-John | August 13, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

...they can't update the clubhouses and changing rooms for the teams.

-----

The locker rooms, clubhouses and press facilities were renovated by the city upon baseball's arrival. DCU has also done their own updating to their areas. While the stadium in general has seen better days, it's not as bad as you think.


Posted by: Goff | August 13, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Doesn't Snyder and the Redskins have rights to the RFK site for future consideration?"

Perhaps not formally, but they have expressed interest in possibly returning to the site if they are permitted to build a stadium of FedEx proportions there. That expression of interest is probably just as effective as an actual option on the site, in terms of deterring the District from talking to DCU or anyone else about other potential uses for the site, at least in the short term.

Posted by: Go Penn State! | August 13, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"The locker rooms, clubhouses and press facilities were renovated by the city upon baseball's arrival. DCU has also done their own updating to their areas. While the stadium in general has seen better days, it's not as bad as you think."

I'd forgotten about that, though from what I'm told, and what I've seen of the underbelly of RFK, they're still nothing to write home about.

For the fan, however, the darkness of the concourses, the poor concessioning [albeit this though better than @ Toyota Park], and the relatively narrow aisles in the seating areas are of greater import. Not to mention that the virtually inaudible sound system is bested by those in the most modest of venues nowadays.

Posted by: khan | August 13, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

RFK has been the site of some fantastic USMNT qualifiers, I clearly remember Jamaica, (97), Guatemala, & Honduras, in the 2002 qualfiers. Full houses fantastic atmosphere thats really what its about. Sure the ammenities are antiquated - the place was built in the early 60's! Everybody agrees DCU needs its own stadium but when the USMNT next come to town, I for one will be there.

Posted by: sbg | August 13, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

In a video posted on bobbyboswell.com Kevin Payne said United was losing millions of dollars by staying at RFK. How is that so? Further, how is building a new stadium more convenient or cost effective than staying at one that already exists? Isn't renovation cheaper than new construction? I fully support the idea of staying in DC; I don't think "Leesburg United" really rolls off the tongue in the same way, but now that we've gotten rid of baseball, what's so wrong with staying in RFK?

Posted by: Tron | August 13, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"...Kevin Payne said United was losing millions of dollars by staying at RFK. How is that so?"

DCU doesn't make money on concessions -- the District does. (Somebody correct me if I'm wrong)

Posted by: Juan-John | August 13, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"Leesburg United" might upset my horses, and those of community members much richer than you or I can even imagine. Stick it in Ashburn where the Metro will be in a few years and all those "commoners" live. LOL.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | August 13, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

That was meant as NIMBY sarcasm for those who might misread that.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | August 13, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"In a video posted on bobbyboswell.com Kevin Payne said United was losing millions of dollars by staying at RFK. How is that so? Further, how is building a new stadium more convenient or cost effective than staying at one that already exists? Isn't renovation cheaper than new construction?"

DC United loses money as it has to rent RFK (game day use and their offices). They make no money on parking or concessions. They would own their new stadium-stop paying rent and then have money come in from parking and concessions (this is how other teams around the league who have their own facilities are now breaking even or turning a profit).

RFK's shelf life is on borrowed time. I've been inside under the seats and the concrete is crumbling so it's beyond a simple facelift, the infrastructure is shot.

K

Posted by: SEKim | August 14, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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