By Michele Kettner
Washington, DC (August 15, 2018) – The Washington Spirit made their debut at D.C. United’s Audi Field Wednesday as they toured the stadium ahead of next week’s match against Portland Thorns FC.
The Spirit arrived in Southwest D.C. on Wednesday morning to get their first look at the new venue, starting with a walk-through of the field and stadium, where they viewed the concourse and suites. The tour ended with the players checking out the facility’s new locker rooms.
The team ended their visit at Audi Field with a press conference that included owner Bill Lynch, head coach Jim Gabarra, assistant coach Briana Scurry, and players Estelle Johnson, Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle.
🤩 First time checking out the locker room at @AudiField!
— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) August 15, 2018
“First, congratulations to D.C. United for the stadium, it’s a long time coming,” Lynch said to open the press conference. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to showcase these incredible athletes in D.C., at the stadium, and start building our D.C. audience.”
“As part of the greater metropolitan D.C. soccer community, I’ve been waiting like everyone else for 13-15 years for the stadium to open up; so, I’m especially excited to be part of women’s soccer coming back to the district,” Gabarra said.
“Just seeing everything is just really cool and I think that the fact that we are going to be the first women’s team to play here is really special too,” Pugh exclaimed. “It’s a beautiful stadium and beautiful facilities, so being able to play a game here is amazing.”
“I think getting to play in such a great stadium definitely ups the moral a little,” Lavelle said. “Hopefully we can draw a big crowd and it’s a chance to continue to grow the women’s game and hopefully get a bigger following for the next year.”
“Having Audi Field open is fantastic. I have known about this process and this journey for D.C. United for many years, as I mentioned earlier,” Scurry explained. “I have played some games at RFK and coming in here this morning and seeing how glorious Audi Field was, I was a little envious of the players opportunity to be able to play on this wonderful pitch. I think it is going to be a great testament to our game and I really hope that D.C. comes out and supports women’s soccer. It has been a long time coming and it’s fantastic to have a soccer specific stadium in the D.C. area.”
“I’d say throughout my career, I think I have only played in one or two MLS stadiums and that’s over a span of eight years, so it’s always awesome,” said Johnson. “It’s also great to have it here, a club that I’ve been with for, this is my fourth season. I’m really excited to be able to gain some new fans for us, hopefully, and just be in a city that I love to be in and getting to play in such an awesome venue.”
The Washington Spirit return to Audi Field Saturday, August 25 for their match against Portland Thorns FC. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. ET. [TICKETS]