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Q&A with Erick Thohir - Part 2

Part 2: United's owner talks about the business of soccer

What is your vision for D.C. United?
We want to make D.C. United a championship team as soon as possible. That means executing and competing for championships on the field and being a model organization in terms of connecting with our fans as well. We want to promote D.C. United as a global brand, that is where I can help the most because of my experience and contacts around the world. Teams like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Manchester United, AC Milan are known well outside of their immediate borders, and we believe the same thing is possible for D.C. United.

You own two basketball teams that both recently won championships in their leagues and in your first year as co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers the team played in game seven of the conference semifinals. What does it take to build a championship caliber team?
I think there are four key components to building a championship caliber organization. First, a team needs strong management who can set and execute a vision both for competitiveness on the field and develop the business with an eye toward enhancing fan experiences. Second, you need a top-notch coaching staff who can bring together all the talent – stars, role players, etc. – and inspire them to play with passion. Third, every team needs players who have talent and the will to compete and understand their role as part of the team. Finally, a team must build a strong Academy and scouting system to continually develop and bring in talent and keep the organization rolling.

How have your investments in American professional sports franchises create or increased fan interest in Indonesia?
Fans in Indonesia are excited that I am the first Southeast Asian to own an MLS team, especially if we can arrange for D.C. United to visit. I believe that support will grow if we engage soccer fans here by bringing United to the region. This country and even the broader region is looking for high quality sports entertainment, which is why I helped to found the ASEAN Basketball League. It is a great place with great people, and now it is about making a connection.

What would you like American sports fans to know about Indonesia?
Most probably don’t know that Indonesia is nearly as big as the US in population, and we have a great love for sports. There is a lot of talent here that needs to be developed. I would invite American sport fans to come and visit our country and see what we are all about.

Do you have a message for D.C. United fans?
You have the commitment of me and my partners to bring D.C. United back to the glory it enjoyed during the first part of MLS’s history. I would ask that our fans please support as we do all we can for the Black-and-Red.

Previously: Part 1: United's owner talks about his soccer background