Open Letter to Dynamo Fans and Supporters,
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 will be a day that Dynamo fans should long remember. Harris County Commissioners Court met today, and buried on page 24 of the Court agenda there was an action item. It read as follows: Request for approval of an agreement between the county, the City of Houston and the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority regarding construction of a soccer stadium in Precinct 1. After 30 minutes of discussion by the commissioners and the county judge, as well as both positive and negative comments from a variety of public speakers, the court voted and passed the item by a vote of 5-0.
These are the words that Houston-area soccer fans of all stripes have been waiting for. Let’s think back to December 16, 2005, when on the steps of Houston City Hall, Mayor Bill White and Commissioner Sylvia Garcia welcomed Dominic Kinnear, Wade Barrett, and Pat Onstad to Houston. The three gentlemen were still somewhat in shock, as they had not fully internalized the decision that had been made to relocate the San Jose Earthquakes from California to Texas. Befitting Pat’s status as a proud Canadian, a cold wind from the north greeted Dom and the players as they made remarks to the assembled media.
At the time, the Dynamo did not exist. We had no employees, no offices, no name. We had a group of players and coaches who had been living in Northern California for years and in the span of a few hours had to face important decisions about whether they wanted to pack up their belongings and move to Houston. Clearly, we had a lot of work to do at the time.
But we had a very powerful ally that drove us on a daily basis. That ally was a vision for what we could build with soccer in Houston. Together with the fans across all demographic groups, we jointly visualized a downtown stadium, just a free kick away from Minute Maid Park in the heart of East Downtown. A stadium almost literally in the shadows of the downtown skyscrapers. A stadium that would symbolize the arrival of the sport and of the team. A stadium that would serve to help unify sports fans all across the broad spectrum of life here in Harris County. We envisioned a stadium that would welcome fans of the game. A stadium that would attract sports enthusiasts who had no idea of what a 4-4-2 or a red card was. A stadium that would offer the myriad of companies in Houston a chance to show off their chosen city and entertain clients and guests.
Well, with the unanimous vote this week by Harris County Commissioners Court and the similarly unanimous vote last week by Houston City Council, we - players, coaches, staff, and most importantly the fans and supporters - are one enormous step closer to making our vision a reality. Many people have been working on this, and we are particularly grateful to Commissioners Garcia and Lee, as well as Mayor Parker and Councilmember Rodriguez. Other folks who have helped enormously may not be familiar to the Dynamo community, but without the support of Andy Icken, Chief Development Officer of the City of Houston, and David Turkel, Director of Community Services for Harris County, I can assure you that we would not have moved off of dead-center.
Dynamo fans, you have been rock-solid in your support of this effort. On behalf of the team, I want to thank you for taking the time to communicate with and appear before City Council and Commissioners Court. Your unwavering belief in the project did not go unnoticed by our elected officials, and because of your dedication, we are on the cusp of something very special. Thank you!
President/General Manager, Houston Dynamo