Hall of Famer Len Oliver speaks up for D.C. United stadium: “We will all benefit”
Editor’s note: Len Oliver is an icon of American soccer, a lifelong servant of the game via his many distinguished contributions as a player, coach, administrator, referee, thinker and writer. Learning the sport on Philadelphia’s rough-and-tumble streets in the World War II era, Oliver became a standout player at the college, professional and international levels and later helped build the soccer scene in Washington, D.C. as a key architect in the growth of D.C. Stoddert Soccer.
A veteran coaching trainer, Oliver holds a USSF “A” coaching license and a National Youth License as well as myriad other qualifications and honors, including membership in the National Soccer Hall of Fame. He is also a walking treasure trove of U.S. soccer history, one of a select few who has witnessed up-close the sport’s astronomical growth in this country over the past half-century. (Learn more about Oliver’s background here.)
This week he is speaking out in support of D.C. city mayor Vincent Gray’s plan to build a $150 million soccer-specific stadium at Buzzard Point in Southwest D.C. in partnership with D.C. United. Oliver wrote a letter to members of the D.C. city council, who must approve Gray’s plan to carry the mixed-use project to fruition, and has kindly made his message available to the wider public.
Here is Oliver’s letter.
Dear Council Friends:
I am writing as a 50-year D.C. resident and as a long-time D.C. United season ticket holder and soccer enthusiast to urge you to support D.C. United’s effort to find a home at Buzzard Point. I have always found D.C. United ready to help our kids, our leagues and soccer in general in any way possible.
Through their efforts, for example, in Wards 7 and 8 with United Soccer Club, clinics and camps for inner-city youth soccer players, and free tickets to home games at RFK [Stadium], D.C. United has shown itself to be an invaluable member of our community.
I hope we can retain D.C. United in D.C. A viable and highly competitive pro team helps to establish a soccer environment for us, giving our kids and their families role models for good sporting behavior both on and off the field.
Growing up in Philadelphia, as kids we used to go to all pro games. We learned moves for playing situations, emulated these moves and went on to careers in soccer. I eventually played with the Philly pro team and subsequently with the U.S. National Team – those pro experiences were invaluable to our commitment to soccer.
We are all important in soccer, from D.C. United to those who run our local leagues, to our coaches, to our players, and to our parents. In D.C., our DC Stoddert League has over 6,000 youngsters playing every weekend, spring and fall. In Virginia, we have, through the Virginia Youth Soccer Association, some 146,000 registered players. Count in the parents and you have a sizeable soccer population in our area.
The kids and their parents in our soccer system strongly support D.C. United’s quest for a permanent home in D.C. I hope you agree.
We will all benefit.
Consultant, D.C. Stoddert Soccer
VYSA State Staff Coach
National Soccer Hall of Fame (Player, 1996)
[ +Readers in favor of United’s new stadium project can make themselves heard via UniteDC.org, a new website designed by the club to coalesce and express support for the Buzzard Point project ]
FEATURED TRYOUTS & CAMPS
- Loudoun Premier Cup 2023 - Applications Open Now
- Commonwealth Clash 2023 - Take Labor Day Weekend Off
- Spain 2023 Summer Academy Program
- Earn Cash Back While You Travel For Youth Soccer
- Official Elite Summer Soccer Camps with Elite Pro Clubs in Europe