On Saturday, May 12 the Houston Dynamo will open their new soccer-specific stadium, BBVA Compass Stadium, against DC United in a nationally televised game at 2:30 pm MT on NBC Sports. It is the 11th stadium built specifically for an MLS side, joining the likes of Columbus Crew Stadium, The Home Depot Center, Red Bull Arena, and of course Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Colorado Rapids Senior Account Executive, Marcus Myrick, who joined the organization in 2003, recounts the day the Rapids opened Dick's Sporting Goods Park, on April 7, 2007, defeating DC United 2-1.
April 7, 2007. “Man it is FREEZING out here!”
That is the first thing that I remember when I think about us opening Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. It was absolutely freezing. If you were here, you know what I’m talking about. I had these wool socks on and my feet were still frozen. I am thinking to myself, 'this is great, we’ve got the whole country watching, the commissioner is here and it’s like 32 degrees and it feels like -5. '
I remember Jeff Plush saying to the staff that week, 'make sure you take some time to really savor this moment. Very few people in this industry have the chance to open a new building, so what we are all about to experience is something very special.'
And that is so true, because this place is the palace everyone dreamed of when MLS was in its infancy. Not just a stadium, but an entire facility that is about soccer.
The game was sold out in advance, which was the first time that had ever happened for any Rapids game I had been a part of. That was a very proud moment when people were calling in for tickets and having to share with them that all we had left were standing room only tickets. And everyone that had a ticket was here, in their seat and had this place ROCKING during kickoff.
TICKETS: RAPIDS VS SPORTING KC ON MAY 19
I have to give some extra love to the supporters because, truth be told, they really set the tone for day with the MASSIVE tailgate they had that day. Anyone that came from MLS HQ that stopped by the tailgate got a scarf that day. Even commissioner Garber got a scarf. If I remember right Mark Bodmer and Tina Nuechterlein of Class VI presented it to him right before he cut the ribbon to open the doors. I think there may even be a picture of him wearing it (right: GM Jeff Plush, Tina, Mark, Commissioner Garber).
As for the match itself I remember three things. I remember when we had the starting lineups walk out with the players that all of the Rapids players had on the big winter parka coats and they all took them off and put them around the little kids that had walked out with them so that the kids could be warm.
Secondly I remember Herculez Gomez giving us all a glimpse of the player he would become by scoring a great opening goal.
Finally I remember that DC United got mad when there was no hot water in the showers post match and thought that we had done that on purpose (something happened with the water heater that day knocking out hot water in the north building).
Every time I see a new MLS stadium open I am happy for the fans of that team and for the staff because I know what it means for the team and it takes me back to the second greatest moment I’ve experienced with this great club.
(If you where at the opener, share your memories in the comments below)
Aerial footage of Houston's new stadium