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Jun 23, 2022

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DC to host 2023 MLS All-Star Game at Audi Field

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One week after being shut out of hosting matches in the men’s World Cup in 2026, the D.C. region will receive a nice consolation prize.

Major League Soccer plans to bring its All-Star game next year back to the nation’s capital, WTOP has learned.

The 2023 MLS All-Star game will be played at D.C.’s Audi Field, the home of the District’s two soccer clubs — D.

C. United and the Washington Spirit.

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The announcement is expected at 11 a.m. MLS Commissioner Don Garber and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser are expected to attend a special announcement taking place at the venue late Thursday morning. Team president of business operations Danita Johnson and multiplatinum hip-hip artist Yo Gotti, who owns a percentage of the D.C. United, plan to attend the affair as well.

Audi Field in Southwest D.C., opened in 2018 and is the home of MLS side D.C. United. (Courtesy DC United)

D.C. last hosted the MLS All-Star game in 2002 and 2004 at RFK Stadium. Major League Baseball was the last sports league to have its All-Star festivities in the District in 2018.

Major League Soccer’s second marquee event has shifted formats multiple times. After years of playing traditional All-Star matchups — East vs. West or USA vs. the World — the league began organizing games against club teams from around the world. MLS All-Stars have played against the U.S. men’s national team, English Premier League side Chelsea and Spain’s Real Madrid.

In 2021, the MLS All-Stars took on an all-star team from the Mexican soccer league, Liga MX, in Los Angeles. This year, MLS will face off a Liga MX All-Star team again in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Aug. 10.

It is unclear what format will be used for the 2023 edition.

D.C. becoming the host site for MLS’ All-Star game comes after a combined bid between the District and Baltimore, Maryland, failed to secure matches for the World Cup hosted in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026. FIFA, soccer’s governing body, said it would talk to city officials about possibly hosting a fan fest during the tournament.  

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On eve of summer league, Heats first-round pick Nikola Jovic insists nothing will be lost in translation

When the Miami Heat selected a 6-foot-11, 223-pound Serbian in the first round of the draft, the initial questions were how it would translate to today’s NBA.

After a pair of practices in advance of the team’s summer league opener Saturday, a few answers were offered Friday by Nikola Jovic.

First, the 19-year-old said he believes he has earned a passing grade in communications as he works with Heat assistant coach Malik Allen, who is guiding the team’s summer roster.

“It’s just I’ve never been coached by a coach who doesn’t speak Serbian,” said Jovic, who was born in England but spent his formative basketball years in Serbia. “Everyone around speaks English, but there is a lot of new plays. I don’t have a problem with that. I learn them easily. I don’t think I have a problem with learning them. I need to concentrate a little bit more because it’s a different language.

“But I think Coach is doing a great thing with us and explaining everything to me. So I think right now I’m being really, really good with it.”

Despite a frame that will require some NBA hardening, Jovic said it is the speed, more than the strength, that has left him at somewhat of a loss during his initial scrimmages.

“I would say strength-wise it’s about the same,” he said after the Heat practiced Friday at the Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors. “But pace is higher, for sure. These guys are a lot faster. So that’s the only thing that is really different. Everything else is kind of the same.

“Our team is really, really physical. All the guys are really good. I think I’ve been pushed by the whole team. But I think everybody’s pushing each other.”

When initially introduced after being selected at No. 27, Jovic said he viewed himself as a skilled guard. But he said he continues to find his way in that regard.

“I think right now they’re still looking to see where I’m the best at,” he said. “I’m still trying to find a perfect fit for me. So it’s going to take a little bit of time.

“Some of the games I’ll show what I can do and they’ll know exactly where to put me. So right now, we’re just experimenting a little bit.”

The Heat open their three-game schedule at the California Classic in San Francisco at 5 p.m. Eastern on Saturday against a similar team of draft picks, rookies, free agents and young prospects from the Los Angeles Lakers, with the game televised on ESPN2.

“He’s got a good feel for the game offensively,” Allen said. “And defensively he does well. He’s learning. But when you talk to him, you don’t get the sense that it’s totally foreign, what you’re trying to teach him, which is a really positive sign.

“He’s got a good personality, good spirit. He is competitive. He’s young, but it’s good when you have that competitive spirit, obviously, just because you think he’s going to keep getting better.”

So far, Allen said, it’s been an encouraging partnership, one that will endure, with Jovic’s rookie-scale deal that starts at $2.2 million leaving him under guaranteed contract for at least two seasons and as many as four.

“He doesn’t force anything,” said Allen, who coaches the Heat’s big men during the regular season. “Anytime you need to move the ball, he’s got a good feel of just moving the ball. He can put the ball on the floor and attack, which is encouraging for a young guy. He’s not afraid to put the ball on the floor and try to get to the rim, take contact.

“And he’s gonna have the ability to shoot it. And he’s a really good kid. He’s what you expect out of a 19-year-old. He’s ambitious, but he’s youthful.”

Preseason plans

The Heat on Friday released their three-game home preseason schedule.

Exhibitions at FTX Arena are scheduled for Oct. 4 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Oct. 10 against the Houston Rockets and Oct. 12 against the New Orleans Pelicans, with all three games to start at 7:30 p.m.

The Heat also are expected to play three road exhibitions, with that portion of the schedule to be released at a later date.

The Heat’s ticket release noted, “Tickets purchased through July 7 are eligible for the State of Florida’s 2022 Freedom Week Sales Tax Holiday. All qualifying purchases will have the tax refunded by Ticketmaster.”


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