D.C. United isn’t the only team looking to build a soccer-specific stadium in the Washington area. University of Maryland Coach Sasho Cirovski is eyeing a new facility within five years.
At a media luncheon in College Park on Monday, Cirovski said he will begin soliciting private funds to finance an on-campus stadium that ideally would accommodate 8,000 to 10,000 spectators.
The Terrapins have played at Ludwig Field throughout Cirovski’s 20-year reign and are among the nation’s attendance leaders (3,781 last year, with a high of 7,957 against Duke). But the facility is used for multiple sports and, despite seating upgrades and the ability to add bleachers for big matches, it has always had a temporary feel to it. For example, trailers serve as locker rooms.
“We’re going to do it,” he said. “We’re going to find a way. We’re going to find the money. We’ve got a lot of people who see the necessity of the same vision now.”
Two on-campus locations have been identified for a potential venue, said Cirovski, who declined to reveal the specific sites.
“The time has come to spend a little extra time on a big vision,” he said. “We’ve built a brand on this campus, in this community. We’ve shown we need to upgrade. . . . To put together a stadium to honor this great program is a big deal to me. We’ve done a lot of stuff for our fans, but I want the whole enchilada.”
With Maryland’s athletic department confronting financial issues and cutting sports, Cirovski understands the need to raise private funds.
“There are people that have the means and haven’t been asked yet,” he said. “We’re going to go ask them. I haven’t asked them yet. I’ll be knocking on their door.”
Cirovski cited the modern stadium at Creighton, where the Terrapins played a 3-3 preseason draw Friday, as an example of what could be done in College Park.
“It’s going to come down to some people who care about our program opening up their wallets and getting the momentum going,” he said. “That is what I am working on now.”
Over the years, Maryland and D.C. United have discussed a joint project, but the teams’ needs are quite different. United is aiming for a 20,000 to 24,000-seat stadium in the city. Playing off-campus is “off the table,” Cirovski said.
“It’s probably not in the best interests of either” United or Maryland to partner on a project, Cirovski said. “It would be a good thing for both but not the best thing for both. There would be a lot of challenges.
“I hope they get their stadium at Buzzard Point, and I hope we get the stadium we deserve.”