In a press conference today littered with apocalyptic levels of references to Uncle Lamar, the US Soccer Hall of Fame has finally arrived. Or well, it will after 2018. Your patience is welcomed.
All the specs and details regarding the new facility can be found here. It’s a new facade, entrance, and seating arrangement that will change the look of the south side of Toyota Stadium permanently. Architecture junkies and stadium aficionados can rejoice in what will be an aesthetically superior building.
Under the hood you’ll see new, expanded locker rooms, new club seating, a new concourse, and a new team store. I can only assume members in the array of north end supporters groups will get a free t-shirt and Dan Hunt bobblehead as a peace offering from the front office.
But it in fact will look nice. If there is any part of the stadium that saw the least amount of traffic in the past few years, it is definitely the south end. Bringing in new bells and whistles to enhance the overall quality of the stadium can be admired.
Overall, the direct benefits to fans are easily seen in that one feature that as a human being we actually need: a roof. It’s an item that has evoked simultaneous sighs of relief throughout the FCD faithful. Even if it’s only for the south side, it’s a start, right? If there is anything to praise about the deal it must be the simplest aspect of all. And if you’re jumping for joy over the improved audio and video throughout the stadium, please go throw some more subs in your trunk and add in a second video screen to your center console and leave this conversation.
Inherently, however, there still was never anything really wrong with the south side. Nor is there with the rest of the stadium. The house itself has good bones. Maybe slapping a new sauna and facade brickwork won’t benefit everyone in the house, but it’ll at least look good and be quite the conversation piece – a $39 million conversation piece, to be exact.
And once again, this begs the question: could that money be invested in the squad? Maybe a fraction of the cash? It’s obvious this isn’t all HSG money – investment from other parties, the city of Frisco, and US Soccer all have to be at play. But to the avid, or even casual, FCD fan a couple new sets of legs in the squad are preferable to a set of luxury seating few will ever experience. At least then the new price increases would benefit a vast majority of supporters instead of only a minority (how many times do you envision yourself visiting the Hall of Fame?). Maybe free dinner parties in the hall are part of the new season ticket packages.
Then why all this gloom and doom? Can the cynicism hold for just a moment? The squad is playing well. Insanely well. The most entertaining team in MLS at the moment. Truthfully, it isn’t a fairly deep squad, but Pareja’s a magician that can get the most out of young and old. As far as 2015 is concerned it definitely works, whatever it is he is doing.
And that’s the rub, from an HSG perspective. As long as the academy can churn out quality players that Papi can mold into creators and cogs alike, there is no need to throw money at bigger transfers or invest even more in the academy. As long as he can be efficient and get more out of less, there will still be no need. Which, for the record, is quite alright and sustainable.
But we’re back to square one again. The question persists: would that money, if invested in the first side and academy, be better spent? Those who don’t see much wrong with Toyota Stadium might agree. Those who have seen substantial ticket price increases may as well.
Yet, if Dallas was bottom of the West, or just not in the playoff picture whatsoever, would this be more of a controversial move?
Despite the above rabble-rousing it’s important to not marginalize the course the team is on. Things could be much worse. In the grand scheme of things, this must be the most controversial point of relations between front office and fan in many years. But the team’s 2015 success makes this palatable…for now.