Major League Soccer Comes to Houston

The following post contains opinions, intermixed with factual statements. They should be easy to discern. The following post contains strong language

It appears Houston has a new Major League Soccer (football) franchise!! That’s right, we inherited the San Jose Earthquakes. Of course, the name will be changing – although the new name has yet to be decided upon.

Currently, the team will play at the University of Houston’s Robertson Stadium, for the 2006 season, although – for some assinine reason – our mayor and sports authority are talking about building a new stadium for the team.

While I think it’s a GREAT idea to bring a major league soccer franchise to Houston, I don’t think we need a new stadium for it. Let’s analyze our current stadium situation, shall we?

  1. Reliant Stadium: Empty during most of soccer season, designed for our current American Football team, the Texans, and as the two use similar fields, could easily be converted to a soccer stadium during that season. NEW stadium. Supports real grass/turf.
  2. Minute Maid Park: Baseball stadium, conversion to soccer is possible, although difficult. Fairly NEW stadium. Can support real grass/turf.
  3. Toyota Center: Baseball (Sorry, dyslexia.) Basketball stadium, conversion to soccer is possible, but would neccesitate restructuring of some seats. NEW stadium.
  4. UofH Robertson Stadium: Older stadium, and – most likely – smaller than the team will need, once it gets going. Supports real grass/turf
  5. Reliant Arena: The former Astro Arena. Using this for anything other than indoor soccer would require major restructuring, and it may have been re-designed during the Reliant Stadium build-out, I can’t remember. Old.
  6. 6) Reliant Astrodome: Empty all year, designed to be easily restructured between baseball, football, and rodeo, this stadium presents the optimum setting for a new franchise. It’s a domed stadium, air conditioned, and can support real turf with some modifications to the roof (or a lot of TLC of the turf). Currently would require playing on astroturf (fake turf), so I’m not sure how well that would go over, but I don’t think it would be all that hard to switch it around, and it would certainly be cheaper than building a whole new stadium. Besides, we’re running out of places to put new stadiums. I mean, three have opened in the past five or so years. The Astrodome may be old, but it’s still fully functional, and updating it would be cheaper than building a new one.
  7. I love this quote:

    MLS [Major League Soccer] has said it expects to have a plan for a soccer-specific stadium in Houston carved out in the near future. Although nothing is concrete, [MLS Commisioner] Garber has said he would seek a public-private partnership in the building of a venue.

    Great. Just what we need. Another stadium to hike up the hotel, rental car, and tourism taxes, again. We’re already hurting for tourism, enough, you stupid fucks. Get it through your thick heads. The last thing Houston needs is something to drive up the cost of tourism, or general public taxes. Try putting something towards education, or crime, or some other place where we’re hurting (sitting damned near rock bottom on education, folks – along with the rest of the state), instead of a new freaking stadium. It’s time to use what we have.

    All in all, I’m excited about a new soccer team coming to Houston. In fact, I’m wishing I was in the same income bracket as some of our Houston authors, and could afford season tickets. I love soccer, watch it on TV every chance I get, and most of the Spanish I’ve learned, recently, has been from the ‘futbol’ matches on Telemundo, et al.

    If you want season tickets, you’ll have to pay $50 just for the priviledge of getting on the waiting list. You can get there by going to the MLS In Houston, 2006 website. The $50 is per ticket/seat, and is absolutely non-refundable. You’ll pay and then, “Once your deposit is processed, a Team representative will contact you in the near future with further pricing and seating information.”

    If anyone wants to get me a ticket or two, I’d be greatfully appreciated, heh. Failing that, invite me along, some, huh? heh.

    Congradulations, Houston! You got a great team, in an awesome sport!

7 Comments so far

  1. Marc (unregistered) on December 17th, 2005 @ 2:22 am

    This is awesome, and although I agree, there are a few problems with overhauling the stadiums as well.

    1. Reliant Stadium – Probably the best shot at a shared stadium, but good luck getting the Texans owners to agree on that. Plus, this might require some remodeling as soccer plays on a bigger field, typically.
    2. Minute Maid – Not gonna happen because it would require a massive overhaul of the stadium. Plus, Drayton won’t give up his closer seats for a renovated and shared baseball field. They won’t share a stadium after the Dome.
    3. Toyota Center – Basketball arena, not a baseball stadium.
    I don’t think they’ll renovate any of these, as they are all 6 years or younger.

    4. Robertson – best available option at the moment, but they’ll grow out of it.
    5. Reliant Arena – Won’t cut it, if you ever went to a Houston Hotshots game (our old indoor soccer team), you know exactly why. It’s tiny (waaay too small for FIFA soccer), and is pretty run down.
    6. The Dome – I still think that we need to renovate the Dome in hopes of making it an Olympic Stadium, and this seems like the best shot. However, for soccer something needs to be done to allow for real grass. I know this sounds pretentious, but playing soccer on turf just doesn’t cut it, and I say this as a former player. Turf sucks, and it seems to draw injuries like a magnet. So we need to get a place that can handle real grass.

  2. Aaron (unregistered) on December 17th, 2005 @ 12:15 pm

    Well, the Dome once had real grass. Is there any reason it couldn’t have it again if we de-opacify the skylights?

  3. Eric (unregistered) on December 17th, 2005 @ 5:10 pm

    Marc, whoops.. I meant “basketball stadium” on Toyota Center. Sorry, a little dyslexia kicking in, there. No, you’re not pretentious at all, I used to play soccer in elementary school, and the one time we played on turf, we had three guys go to the hospital (Compared to an avg of .015 in other games). With real grass, it not only feels better, you get better grip, etc… As for The Dome.. if they could re-do the roof to support real grass, well..

    Aaron: The reason they opaqued the skylights and went with astroturf, I think, is because the current setup was not as conductive to grass growing as they thought. As far as de-opaqueing them.. I’m not too sure it can be supported. I’m not even sure if the current roof HAS skylights. If I remember correctly, the original astrodome roof was a fabric-style domed roof that needed constant air pressure to stay “inflated.” It was later changed to a hard-shell roof. I may be wrong, though. I need to look back through my history and see.

  4. RedScare (unregistered) on December 17th, 2005 @ 7:35 pm

    Wrong on the Dome, Eric. The roof structure you see now is original. At the start, the Dome had clear glass panels, but the glare caused baseball players to lose flyballs. So, Dome officials painted the panels opaque to get rid of the glare. This killed the grass, leading to the invention of Astroturf.

    Incidentally, the new MLS squad is going to pay UH to install FieldTurf, the latest incarnation of Astroturf, in Robertson Stadium.

  5. Eric (unregistered) on December 17th, 2005 @ 7:51 pm

    Hmm. Guess my history isn’t as complete as I thought it was. heh.

    As for fieldturf, what are they thinking? I guess Robertson isn’t a grass stadium, now, then, hmm? Well, if they have to compromise…

  6. Serena (unregistered) on December 17th, 2005 @ 8:53 pm

    FYI, this post was mentioned in Off The Kuff.

  7. Eric (unregistered) on December 18th, 2005 @ 1:05 am

    Thanks, Serena. Evidentally trackbacks don’t seem to be displaying/working properly.

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