January 13, 2017
By Brian Trusdell
Coming full circle
Soccer News Net Contributor
Wasn’t MLS trying to get away from these guys?
When MLS started in 1996, all 10 teams played in stadia where either NFL or college football teams were the primary tenant (if not the building owners). Oversized seating capacity, narrow fields, obtrusive line markings, uneven surfaces and schedule changes necessitated by NFL games – not to mention the exorbitant rents in some cases, restrictions on advertising and the loss of other revenue streams – were among the many reasons MLS teams strived to distance themselves from their American football brethren.
With the San Diego Chargers announced move to Los Angeles for next season, the NFL club has begun taking ticket deposits for the 2017 season at the StubHub Center, formerly The Home Depot Center, i.e. the LA Galaxy’s home.
If the Chargers indeed play at the venue that has been described by MLS Commissioner Don Garber and others as the "Cathedral of American Soccer," it will mark the first time and NFL club has become a secondary tenant to an MLS side. (The NCAA FCS, i.e. Division I-AA, championship game has been played at FC Dallas’ stadium since 2010 and the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts played at BMO Field last year.)
The Chargers playing second banana to an MLS team is definitely a turn of fortunes. Regardless, it’ll still probably screw up the field with lines and hack it to bits!
Usual stadium struggles
Seven MLS teams still play in football stadia or (in the case on of one) an MLB park, and those numbers may not change soon considering news this past week with regard two expansion hopefuls and an original club.
DC is at least on a timetable to become the last of the original 10 teams to move out of its oversized and dilapidated home next year.
New England moved out of the aging (and now demolished) Foxboro Stadium following the 2001 season and took up residence in the spiffier – but certainly no smaller – Gillette Stadium. However, the Revs remain with DCU as the only two surviving original members not to have their own home.
Hopes that it would follow DCU into its own digs appear dead with a Boston Globe report this week about plans to build in South Boston next to Old Harbor in Massachusetts Bay. Robert Kraft supposedly is ready to walk away from his desire to erect a stadium on an abandoned expo center owned by the University of Massachusetts because he needs an adjacent 2.7 acres where the Boston Teachers Union has its dilapidated headquarters.
Two years ago, the Globe says, the BTU filed plans to replace its building but now is asking for $17.5 million in cash and another $12.5 million to relocate. That’s $30 million for 2.7 acres that is ridiculously disproportionate to the $18.7 million that UMass paid only a few years ago for the 20 acres where the vast majority of the Revs stadium would sit.
St. Louis’ stadium situation is in virtually the same “dead” status after the alderman who sponsored a proposal for the city to spend $80 million toward a $200 million stadium “will not be moving forward.”
The proposal actually was to put the $80 million on an April 4 ballot for the voters to decide. Less than two weeks remain to get it on spring ballot and the deadline for that is a week before MLS’ Jan. 31 date for submitting expansion bids.
The least bad news was in Charlotte, where the Smith family – which owns Charlotte Motor Speedway – wants to use the site of the old downtown Memorial Stadium as part of its bid. The idea is for the city of Charlotte, the county of Mecklenburg and the Smiths each to spend $50 million toward the stadium rebuild.
Mecklenburg County is apparently OK with it, but some city council members would rather build at the site of an abandoned mall the city has been trying to redevelop for five years. The silver lining in that is the most outspoken about that idea, Democrat John Autry, had his last day on council earlier this week.
Happy over here
While many of the United States (and Canada’s) best pine for the green fields of Europe, at least one European is “enjoying huge satisfaction” in North America. Sebastian Giovinco's agent, Andrea D’Amico, told Italian television channel Sportitalia that the “Atomic Ant” loves both his professional and personal life with Toronto FC.
“Giovinco’s not coming back to Italy,” D’Amico said. “He’s found a setting where he is enjoying huge satisfaction both on and off the field, including getting to within touching distance of the title.
“Football in the USA is growing rapidly and this growth of the whole movement there can be seen in the number of spectators flocking to the stadiums.”
OK, so he kind of lumped Canada in with the United States. Canadians are used to that and probably won’t mind if Giovinco keeps scoring goals. Well, maybe if you’re in Montreal or Vancouver you would.
Punishing the Good Samaritan
After all the stories you hear about misbehaving athletes getting injured doing something stupid, along comes Ryan Hollingshead.
On Jan. 6, the three-year FC Dallas veteran defender stopped on a road in Irving, Texas, to help a man whose car had skidded on some black ice and struck the guard rail before coming to a stop. But while he and another Good Samaritan were checking on the driver, a second car slid into them, hitting the pair and throwing them “30 feet” in the air, according to local news reports.
Hollingshead, 25, sustained three fractured vertebrae and will have to be in a neck brace for six to eight weeks. He was fortunate in the sense that he didn’t suffer any spinal cord damage and will not need surgery. He was discharged from the hospital on Sunday and is recovering at home, the club said in a statement.
This is the same Ryan Hollingshead who bypassed his rookie year with Dallas in 2013 to fulfill a promise to his brother Scott to help him build a church in Sacramento, Calif.