Erick Thohir and Jason Levien, via www.dcunited.com
Even with a winning record, even with a view from the top of the table, a shadow still hangs over every season of D.C. United soccer.
There's always been a worry that the team could be moved away. That next season may be our last. Without the financial backing or politcal clout to build a stadium in D.C. or the surrounding counties, this United team was inching closer every year to losing its future, its tradition, its existence.
Those worries are no more. The financial backing has arrived, although we knew that was on its way for a few weeks now. The political clout has arrived too, and that's more of a surprise. In a press conference today, Erick Thohir and Jason Levien were announced as new co-owners of D.C. United, with Will Chang retaining his ownership rights as well. Team President Kevin Payne will continue his present role running the operations of the team.
While Thohir is said to be "the money man" in the deal, Levien apparently is very well-connected in D.C. Not Baltimore, mind you. D.C. This team isn't going anywhere. The team now has the money to build a stadium, and a man with the business savvy to get it done.
Some have expressed concerns that Thohir has no ties to the area, meaning that he might move the team to wherever he feels it would be most profitable. That's just not true, and I think those concerns were put to rest today. These guys understand the tradition of the club. They want to be here, and we want them here. We've wanted them here for years. And now for years, for the duration really, this is where we'll all be, together.
Today's ownership change was so important to the club. Its importance is immeasurable. It guarantees our existence. It ensures survival. The road towards stadium construction is a long one.
We just went from crawling down it to walking down it.