Do you remember that concept model of downtown Columbia? The one from the late 1960’s that showed what downtown Columbia could look like? Do you remember the sports stadium tucked away in the upper left corner? Well, we now have a possibility to realize that dream.
According to an October 17, 2007 article in the Washington Post (Md. Comes Courting in D.C. United's Stadium Search), Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, the Maryland Stadium Authority, and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development have all had talks with DC United management about bringing the team to Maryland. These talks all took place within the last year.
What would be a better home for the United than Columbia, Maryland? According to Sports Illustrated magazine, Howard County is Maryland's Sportstown. The Covenant Park soccer complex and the annual Memorial Day soccer tournament certainly add to the groundswell of support the MLS team could expect to receive if it were to come to a 2104X zip code.
Moreover, MLS is no stranger to a suburban setting. Carson, CA (population 93,000) is the home of both the LA Galaxy and the Desportes Chivas US teams. The MLS Colorado rapids play their matches at Dick’s Sporting Goods park, located in Commerce City, CO (population 39,000). And if you want to stretch it, MLS team Real Salt Lake plays in Salt Lake City (population 181,000), which has a geographic footprint (109 sq miles) that is larger than eastern Howard County (82 sq. miles, population 200,000).
So why not Maryland United? We have a demonstrated love for the game, an award winning sports heritage, and the demographics that are consistent with many of the homes of current MLS teams. I believe it is certainly worth having the United and the Maryland Stadium Authority take a look and at least do a study.