County Coliseum site to see changes: Soccer stadium a possibility?

ABC-7 explores soccer stadium options

EL PASO, Texas - It's been about a month since MountainStar Sports Group announced its pursuit of a Major League Soccer (MLS) team for El Paso. ABC-7 has learned the El Paso County Coliseum is making some big changes to it's property. Could that be a future stadium site?

The El Paso Chihuahuas ownership group expressed interest in bringing MLS to the Sun City. So on Monday, ABC-7 decided to check out some possibilities for where the soccer-specific stadium could go, including at the County Coliseum.

ABC-7 reached out to multiple people with MountainStar Sports Group via telephone and e-mail to see how things have progressed over the last month, but didn't hear back from anyone.

Turns out the ownership group has already met with County Judge Veronica Escobar, and expressed strong interest in locations close to downtown and/or the border. Escobar told ABC-7 in an e-mail that there have been no official request to the county, but that the El Paso Sports Commission has a contract at the coliseum until 2021.

Brian Kennedy with the Sports Commission says once changes are made at the coliseum site, there will be plenty of room to add a soccer stadium, as well.
"The truth is this is the county facility so it's up to the county to decide what they want to do with the property. We do have a management contract. Hopefully we'd be involved, too. We'll just sit down and find a way to make it work," Kennedy said about if MountainStar Sports Group were to express interest in the coliseum site.

Along with the coliseum, the former ASARCO smelter site and the old Sun Metro depot next to the train station in downtown could possibly make for good options. Both are close to downtown and international bridges, as requested.

Kennedy said the coliseum is booked on average 200 nights a year. The main building itself and the ice rink where the Rhinos play are staying intact, but the buildings being referred to as barns are coming down, and the plans for now is to turn the land into more parking spaces.

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