The professional soccer team working to bring a stadium and DC United headquarters to Loudoun began its public push with an open house meeting Wednesday.
“If you guys are not involved in the DNA of this team, it’s not going to be successful,” said team representative Adam Behinke to the people gathered at Cool Spring Elementary School for the open house. Dewberry landscape architect Rich Brittingham laid out plans for a new 5,000-seat stadium, headquarters, and training facilities for the D.C. United soccer team at Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park just south of Leesburg, along with a second-division professional men’s soccer team, four more soccer fields, and more parking.
D.C. United proposes to pay for all of those facilities, except for the parking, through a long-term lease. The county would own the stadium and fields.
Behinke will be the chief operating officer of the second-division team, Loudoun United.
In March, supervisors approved a schedule to get through the necessary rezoning and comprehensive plan amendments to allow the stadium. That application will be at the Planning Commission for a public hearing June 26. Depending on how long the commission spends reviewing the application, it is tentatively expected to be at the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing July 11.
Time is tight for the team. While the kind of planning and ordinance the county is proposing often take more than a year, the professional men’s team’s contract with their league requires them to start playing next spring.
The county first announced the deal with D.C. United last year. County leaders said they had been conducting secret negotiations with the team for years. The county has struck a deal to take out $15 million in financing for the project and be paid back by the company.
The project has met opposition from residents of neighboring Kincaid Forest. They are concerned the project will drive stadium traffic onto Kincaid Boulevard, which bisects their neighborhood. The Leesburg Town Council has resisted opening Kincaid Boulevard, which ends at a barricade, to connect to an unfinished Crosstrail Boulevard. Creating the link would provide a route from Bolen Park to Battlefield Parkway; however, once Crosstrail Boulevard is complete that traffic could flow to Rt. 7. Currently, the only other access to the park is on Sycolin Road or a winding route from Cochran Mill Road.
County planners have accelerated construction plans for the Crosstrail extension, but it is still not expected to be ready by the time the stadium opens in early 2019.
Loudoun United is expected to play a 30-game season, with 15 home games. Behinke said the team will likely hire around 20 full-time staff and up to 30 seasonal staff.
Although one possible logo design has already been circulated, Behinke said the team will unveil options for a logo by the end of June for public feedback. A decision on the logo, which Behinke said will likely incorporate elements of Loudoun’s flag, is expected by the end of July.
Behinke said the team has also been in conversations with area youth leagues, with plans to partner with Loudoun businesses and soccer leagues.