The new Houston Dynamo stadium will be state-of-the-art and located in downtown. (Courtesy of the Houston Dynamo)

Houston Dynamo's New Stadium Will Break Ground Saturday

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Houston Dynamo Break Ground On New Stadium

The Houston Dynamo have officially entered a new era in their history. On Saturday, the team broke ground on their planned, 22,000-seat downtown stadium and set mid-2012 as the targeted opening.

"I truly believe that this will be one of the finest soccer-specific stadiums in North America," said Chris Canetti, the Dynamo's president of business operations. "Its location cannot be matched, and the design will provide for an authentic international soccer environment. It has been designed with the thought of our fans in mind, and there are many different elements that will offer an incredible experience for everyone."

This comes a little more than five years after the Dynamo moved from San Jose, mainly in an attempt to find a more suitable stadium. In the meantime, they have been playing in Robertson Stadium and have shared the facility with the University of Houston football team.

Now, they are poised to become the 15th MLS team to play in a stadium that was at least built with soccer in mind. The only teams left playing in facilities not built for soccer are DC United, the New England Revolution and the San Jose Earthquakes.

"It’s one of the main reasons why we came here a little over five years ago, so we’ve all been on the outside of it waiting for it to happen," Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said. "It’s finally happening, so it makes the move justified. I’m very happy for the organization, for the fans, for the city, and most importantly I’m very happy for the players who sacrificed for it in the first place."

For more photos and quotes of the Dynamo stadium groundbreaking, visit SB Nation's Houston Dynamo blog Dynamo Theory.

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Houston Dynamo Release Renderings & Details Of New Stadium

A day after the Houston Dynamo announced that the loose ends of their deal with the city for their new downtown stadium had been tied up and that they would be breaking ground on the stadium on Saturday, the Dynamo released additional renderings and details of their new stadium. The stadium will give the Dynamo their own home after renting Robertson Stadium from the University of Houston since the team moved to Houston from San Jose in 2006.

The 22,000 seat stadium, expandable to 30,000, due to open in 2012 was designed by Populous, whose work in MLS includes the Colorado Rapids' home Dicks Sporting Goods Park, Sporting Kansas City's new stadium that will open this year and Gillette Stadium, which is not a soccer-specific stadium, but is home to the New England Revolution. The renderings released today, which can be seen at the SBNation Dynamo website, Dynamo Theory, show a stadium with a unique exterior that is unlike any other in MLS that is made out of mesh and capable of glowing orange with lighting.

The stadium will have an upper and lower tier, separated by 33 suites that will be along both sidelines less than 10 rows from the field. The two tiers will be served by a single 30 foot wide concourse. Along with the suites, there will be 1,100 club seats, a press box that seats 50 members of the print media and seven broadcast booths. All of that will be surround a Bermuda grass field that will host international soccer, Texas State football, concerts, lacrosse and rugby in addition to the Dynamo.

One of the biggest criticisms of some soccer-specific stadiums in the United States is the horseshoe design that has no seats behind one end line and instead has a stage for concerts. Houston's stadium will have a stage behind one end line, but there will be retractable seats that will be able to cover the stage during matches and allow for a seamless seating bowl.

While the Houston stadium will not have the complete roof that Red Bull Arena and the new Kansas City stadium have, it will have a roof over three ends. The two sidelines will be covered by a roof that extends out 75 feet and the staged end will be covered by a roof that extends 125 feet.

The Dynamo have stated they hope to have the stadium done by next April. But that would be an aggressive schedule.

When the Dynamo break ground for their stadium on Saturday, only three MLS teams will be actively seeking a new stadium. One of those, the San Jose Earthquakes, are pushing forward with their plans for a new stadium and don't appear to be too far off from breaking ground themselves. The Revolution are also exploring the possibility of building a stadium of their own, but their owner, Bob Kraft, does own their current home, Gillette Stadium, so financially the club is fine. DC United is the lone team without a suitable stadium or near plans for a suitable stadium and their situation has reached the point that they will soon have to explore the possibility of moving to a proposed stadium in Baltimore.

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Houston Dynamo's New Stadium Will Break Ground Saturday

With the final obstacle cleared, the new Houston Dynamo stadium appears to be full-steam ahead. The Houston City Council approved the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone on Wednesday, clearing the way for Saturday's groundbreaking, which had originally been scheduled for last Saturday.

The Dynamo and MLS were surely hoping to avoid being overshadowed by the hype surrounding the Super Bowl, and people like Dynamo part owner Oscar De La Hoya and MLS commissioner Don Garber had already RSVP'd, but breaking ground is really the only thing important here.

Six years ago, when the Dynamo began playing in Houston, one of the prime reasons given for their move was San Jose was the lack of a soccer-specific stadium. Since then, the Dynamo have been playing at the University of Houston's Robertson Stadium. In San Jose, they were playing at San Jose State's Spartan Stadium.

To be sure, this groundbreaking comes a little later than planned, and not just by a week.

"You know, can’t do anything about the past, but we are looking forward to this Saturday [when Houston will break ground] and it is a huge step for this organization," Brad Davis told MLSsoccer.com. "This is my 10th year in the league and I have not played in my own stadium and there are some other guys here in the same shoes. For me, it's fun."

Davis has been playing for the Dynamo since the team moved to Houston; was with San Jose for a season in 2005; played for the Dallas Burn before they moved into Pizza Hut Park and were rebranded as FC Dallas; and started off with the New York Metrostars, who played in the Meadowlands.

If all goes according to plan, Davis will finally get a chance to play in a stadium built for his team next April. Despite the delays, the Dynamo are still hoping to have their stadium ready near the beginning of next season.

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