Sports Park Premier Party
After an opportunity to explore and experience the Sports Park and its first-phase amenities, guests gathered in the soccer stadium for the official opening ceremony.
Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel directed the Irvine Police Dept. Honor Guard to bring the colors onto the field. As the flags of the nation and the state fluttered in the breeze on the hot summer day, Catherine Song sang a stirring rendition of the national anthem.
Dignitaries from the city, county and state were introduced and took the field. U.S. National Soccer Team stars Landon Donovan, Amy Rodriguez and Brad Friedel were there, along with a collection of Orange County all-star high school soccer players who would play the first game.
Mayor Don Wagner and FivePoint Chairman and CEO Emile Haddad emerged from the stadium tunnel together, symbolizing the public-private partnership between the city and the company that made the day—and the Sports Park—possible.
“Welcome to your Orange County Great Park,” Haddad said. “As we look forward to the next chapter of this land, it is very appropriate for us to pause and remember that a day like this would have never happened without the sacrifices of the thousands of men and women who were part of a different chapter of the life of this land,” he said referring to those who served at MCAS El Toro.
“What excites us is what happens on the fields like this. We get excited to see people on these fields and for superstars to be made. Where friendships for life begin with a simple hello between two strangers sitting right there, where you are now.”
The final act of a great day at the new Sports Park featured The Blues Brothers. Dan Aykroyd paid tribute to “the great aviators that served on this field.” As the music filled the air, the soccer stadium turned into a party that celebrated music, family, fun and the future.