Last week saw an event within the heart of Los Angeles that changed the local landscape of soccer forever. It was the official opening/ribbon cutting ceremony for LAFC’s brand new home: the Banc of California Stadium. While any soccer fan will agree with such a sentiment, those questioning the weight of my opening sentence should know that, while the new stadium is indeed intended for the sport and its imprint within the City of Angels (and the nation’s MLS in fact), the initiative also plays a big role in politics, social justice, and economy of the city and more specifically its District 9.
Although I’ve only been living in Los Angeles, let alone the US of A, for three years, having joined KTTP at the tail end of last year, and only recently have been experiencing a heavy schooling of Major League Soccer, I can safely say that the LAFC stadium opening was one that’ll go down in my books.
To begin, LAFC’s community effort, overall branding/marketing, and incredible start to its career piqued my interest from the get-go. To have such a good looking club coupled with a fancy house…. well, I guess it sits right at home in a city like Los Angeles. Not to say I’m a sucker for that good “Beverly Hills” life, but you can’t deny how alluring LAFC and its new stadium is.
The place is outfitted with some of LA’s best local eateries, is constructed with top of the line technology, and features a glorious view of Downtown LA to highlight just a few. Its behind-the-scenes facilities are also unrivaled within the States, and probably gives its international cousins a run for its money. Sleek and metallic – akin to the Silver Surfer, who happens to be my favorite Marvel character – the whole space feels more like a SpaceX base than an enclosed pitch to kick a ball about.
All that being said, again it isn’t just about kicking balls. The arduous efforts put in by all departments associated to LAFC has managed to not just plunk something magnificent within South Los Angeles, aka The Ninth District, but to also give back to its community… four million dollars in “give back,” plus efforts that include job opportunities in the hundreds, equal rights initiatives, and more that helps local social injustices.
The ceremony itself gathered friends, family, supporters, and of course press to witness the club’s leading women and men, all of which took turns saying their bit – aka explaining their role and how their departments have helped both the stadium and its community. On the stage stood co-owners Nomar Garciaparra, Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm, and Larry Berg, as well as the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, LAFC head coach Bob Bradley and more integral players in the mix. Sat by the side were the men of the hour: the LAFC soccer players, all of which had a look on their face that could only be translated as proudness.
You see, LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium is much more than just a new home for the new kids on the block; it’s a beacon of hope, a place of opportunity, a charitable endeavor, and a temple of our beautiful game. Check out our exclusive photo recap of the LAFC Banc of California Stadium’s ribbon cutting ceremony throughout, then be sure to head to the team’s first home game happening this Sunday 29 April.