WASHINGTON — A new chapter in the history of D.C. United kicked off on Tuesday.
Club owner Will Chang will now be joined by two new partners, Erick Thohir and Jason Levien, who were introduced by the four-time MLS Cup champs in a local hotel.
The addition of Thohir and Levien as managing partners is expected to help the club in its quest to build its own soccer stadium.
"I’d like to borrow a quote form Martin Luther King from his famous speech," Chang said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. "My first dream for D.C. United is to find a permanent home. The second dream is to turn D.C. United into a global brand. And in Jason and Erick, I’ve found the perfect partners to fulfill my dreams."
One of the crucial components in the march towards accomplishing those dreams will be the additional financial muscle behind the club as Chang, Thohir and Levien combine their resources.
"In terms of the financial resources with Erick and Jason, we’re so much stronger financially and Jason has a clear mandate from Erick and I to pursue opportunities on that basis," Chang said. "That we are much stronger financially to be able to find a permanent home for ourselves."
Fans of the club shouldn't have to wait long to see the results of D.C. United's new ownership structure, either. Levien was coy on the subject of imminent developments apart from pushing ahead in the search for a permanent home, but made it clear that the new ownership group was prepared to put their own stamp on things.
"We have some plans in place that we’re going to build on the business side and the team side that we’re looking forward to rolling out," he said.
Thohir is a media and entertainment entrepreneur based in Indonesia, who is also a co-owner of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. He was recently involved in bringing the MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy to Indonesia for a 2011 postseason friendly match against the Indonesian national team.
“The opportunity to partner with Will and Jason brings exciting possibilities,” Thohir said in a club statement. “I am looking forward to helping with the continued development of D.C. United both on and off he field as well as expanding its reach as a global brand.”
Levien, who is also a co-owner with the NBA's 76ers, has deep connections to D.C., having attended Georgetown and lived in the area for a decade. Prior to his tenure as a professional sports owner, he served as a sports agent and attorney, and as an executive with the NBA's Sacramento Kings.
Chang joined as a co-owner of D.C. United on January 8, 2007, and took over the full ownership of the club on May 21, 2009.