On Friday, May 12 when the Houston Dynamo host Vancouver Whitecaps FC, a special milestone will take place: BBVA Compass Stadium will celebrate its five-year anniversary. Since opening on May 12, 2012 with a Dynamo vs. DC United, Major League Soccer game, BBVA Compass Stadium has played host to more than 225 ticketed events including Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash home games, Texas Southern University home football games, international soccer and rugby matches and concerts.
You can join in on the celebration this Friday, May 12 at 8:00 p.m. when the Houston Dynamo host the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Below are first-person account from the first game at BBVA Compass Stadium from a longtime Dynamo fan and Dynamo Legend, Brian Ching.
James Hromadka - Texian Army President
The inaugural game at BBVA Compass Stadium was amazing. So much energy from everyone there. We finally had a place of our own to call home, and unlike many other new MLS stadiums, it was going to be in downtown and not in the suburbs. Everyone was looking forward to the day and 2012 was also the year that my wife and I got married. We met at a Texian Army tailgate before a Dynamo game in 2006, and I proposed to her during a game in 2010. We literally would not be together if it wasn't for this team. She kept accidentally saying our wedding date was May 12, the date of the home opener! That's how much we were looking forward to the day. I couldn't blame her, I was looking forward to it too.
It was a beautiful day outside. The warm Texas sun cascaded down that afternoon across everyone. The crowd waited, waited, and waited for that first goal. We had been spoiled by a Brian Ching hat trick to open Robertson Stadium. Evey time the ball was in out scoring third, the crowd felt like they were at a playoff game. So when Brad Davis scored that beautiful volley, the stadium erupted. It erupted with the joy of the goal, the joy of being there to witness history, and the joy of soccer having a permanent home in the city of Houston. I have been to almost every Dynamo home game at BBVA Compass Stadium, but that first game there was special.
Brian Ching - Dynamo Legend
The first five years of BBVA Compass Stadium have flown by in a flash. I remember when the announcement was made back in 2010 that our franchise was getting a home. It felt like we were finally getting justification for our franchise moving from San Jose in 2006. My initial thoughts were ones of extreme excitement around how much the sport had grown and how we would have the first soccer-specific downtown stadium in Major League Soccer. I knew this would make us a legitimate franchise with a place we could call home, something that we had been searching for since the beginning of the league in 1996. As those initial thoughts gave way, it was bittersweet remembering all the past Dynamo players that helped build the high standards we expect from our Dynamo teams and realizing they were not going to be a part of such a major milestone for our city. Of the original team that moved, there were only two players from that initial roster - Brad Davis and myself.
It was not always a guarantee that I was going to be at the opening of the BBVA Compass Stadium. I remember getting a call from Montreal after the 2011 season telling me that were going to take me in the expansion draft. The first things that came to my mind was that I was not going to be able to make BBVA Compass Stadium my home. Imagine laying the ground work for your dream house for years. Then finally starting the construction process and right before it's completed, being forced to move to a different country. Devastating. Thankfully, I made it back to Houston after a very stressful few months.
Opening Day is something I will never forget. It was a celebration of soccer in Houston. So many thoughts were going through my head as we walked out on to the field that day. My thoughts wandered to all the different stadiums that I have played in over the years and very few of them were actually built for soccer. I also thought about all the Dynamo teams that played at Robertson that helped make this moment reality. This then led to the feelings of pride of having a home, passion in playing for the fans, and excitement to start a new era for the Dynamo. I felt like a little kid again and I could feel that energy coming from every person in the BBVA Compass Stadium. I obviously wanted more than anything to score in the game. Although that didn't happen, I wasn't disappointed because the best thing did. Brad Davis, the other Dynamo original, put his stamp on the moment with an amazing 30 year strike into the upper corner to make sure we ended the day in pure celebration. There is no doubt in my mind that our new home was a big factor in setting the MLS record for longest undefeated home streak.
As I transitioned from being a player, it was because of the stadium I was provided with another incredible opportunity to become the Managing Director of the Houston Dash. Our club would not have been able to create the Dash without a home facility. This new role allowed me to enjoy the game from a different vantage point, the stands. It really made me realize there is no bad seat in the house. It also allowed me to find a favorite viewing spot when watching the games (as the very top of the stands on the West side between the press boxes).
Not only has BBVA Compass Stadium been great for our teams, but it has been instrumental in the revitalization of East Downtown Houston. Seeing the number of apartments pop up in the area as a result of the stadium has been exciting. There are so many new homes and businesses in the area thanks to the influx of people. These are exciting times for our fans, our Club and our neighborhood of EaDo, and I think we can all agree much of this would not have been possible without BBVA Compass Stadium.
Can't wait to see what will come in the next five years!
Watch below as key individuals in the building of BBVA Compass Stadium discuss the impact it has had on the community in addition to its place in soccer history along with some of the stadiums top moments.