Several members of the FC Dallas family are traveling to Brazil this summer to take in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and have agreed to share their experiences with FCDallas.com to give our readers a first-person perspective of the festivities. Today's entry comes from FC Dallas Foundation Director Melissa Reddick, who traveled to Curitiba in conjunction with Lionsraw to do volunteer work in Brazil.
When I was hired four years ago to rebuild the FC Dallas Foundation, I was inundated with calls and emails from international groups wanting to partner in an official capacity. The game of soccer (or football, or futbol) is its own unique international language. It breaks down barriers to facilitate social change. Children will line up for their vaccines when the prospect of playing with an actual ball versus a can or coffee bag appears. So, I knew the Foundation would need to partner with a stable, efficient and effective international organization to make its mark in the world by using sports philanthropy for change.
Through a mutual relationship, I met Jon Burns, founder and visionary of Lionsraw. Based out of the UK, Lionsraw mobilizes soccer enthusiasts to create "Chances for Change" locally and globally in countries that host soccer tournaments such as Poland and South Africa. Their mantra is 'harnessing passion & belief' and they are doing just that on three separate continents right now. When I met Jon and his team three years ago, they were already on the ground in Brazil preparing for the 2014 World Cup, scouting the right legacy project.
Two pieces of Lionsraw that were important for me were first, that they believed in local work as much as global work and second, that they were in a project area building relationships prior to and long after the tournament had ended. This is exactly what makes Lionsraw unique. They are in a country years before their 'legacy tours' begin and stay well after. They build relationships with hosts and organizations on the ground as well as their volunteer base. This year's legacy tour in Brazil brings over 250 volunteers to the Curitiba area.
There are two projects occuring at the same time - the build portion and the football portion. The build project is located in Tangua, north of Curitiba and will provide a community center that will host 500 people a week for education and sports programming. This project began months ago and will be completed in July.
While this is happening, there are three football projects in different favelas around Curitiba. The projects will deliver nine days of community football during June. Each project site has a skilled coach that leads volunteers with a wide range of skills and experiences.
Where does the FC Dallas Foundation come in? Through its Gear Up Project presented by Albertsons, the Foundation donates new and used soccer gear to Lionsraw to be distributed locally as well as globally. The Foundation also partners in local Dallas projects such as a school refurbishment in West Dallas, a number of camps and will be involved in the soccer academies that Lionsraw and another local non-profit, the Fifty-Eight Foundation are establishing to teach leadership through soccer to middle school-aged students.
This year, I joined the volunteer team in Brazil. Arriving in Curitiba last Thursday, I have had the honor of experiencing the other side of the World Cup. It's the side that you don't see while you are watching the chanting crowds and painted faces at the matches all over the country. For the past two days, I served with a team in a small favela north of Curitiba called Almirante Tamandare to lead drills to 30 or so boys from the ages of 5-16. Our community host is the patriarch of the favela, Pastor Rondinely (pronounced Hon-din-eli). Rondinely himself played for a professional club here in Curitiba and has a 16-year-old son in an academy program on the other side of the favela. His English is minimal but we were able to talk about the FCD Academy program and the similarities to his residency.
Not only have my language skills been tested, but my soccer skills as well. I am usually hosting soccer clinics in an administrative capacity and only play the game in the annual staff tournament when some unlucky team of co-workers draws me in the draft.
The boys are so positive, grateful and respectful. They walk in to the pitch shaking every volunteer's hand when they arrive and depart with a handshake, or for me, a kiss on the cheek. There were some incredible skills on the old turf pitch that is completely fenced in with a net roof. It has been 55 degrees out; however, most were in shorts and some played barefoot. The team of volunteers, consisting of Brits and a couple Americans did a wonderful job of engaging the boys.
Most of the volunteers have worked with the kids for a few weeks now, so seeing the relationships between them and the kids that come regularly is touching. Michael, our leader, has a wonderful relationship with the host and speaks incredible Portguese considering he has only been here for two months. I interacted with a number of the kids, but especially a small boy named Andres (right) who played on the side. He was clearly the youngest in age, but not in skill. He would dribble and motion for me to follow. Once after a cartwheel, he looked at me with a challenge in his eyes. Of course, I did it; however, I passed when it came to walking on my hands. Andres was proud of his victory.
Fabian and Rafael (left) are about 9 years old. Clad in matching outfits of green and gold, they played in the morning and the afternoon sessions with bare feet. Their sweet smiles quickly turned serious when they took on me and another volunteer with their long spider-like legs. They dominated.
The first work day was spent coaching the two sessions on the pitch; however, the field was being used on the next work day so we spent the day at the church that Rondinely runs. After a positive message from Rondinely, we played FIFA, table tennis and hosted a round of soccer/bible trivia. I had brought a bunch of FCD gear along with me and the boys were excited to receive jerseys, hats, bags and tees. The kids are just happy to have this group of engaged adults to play with each day.
Today is a day off since Brazil is playing. I'll head to the stadium to see the Spain-Australia match before joining a watch party for the Brazil match. The Ecuador-Honduras game was an amazing experience on Friday. I'm sure today will be no less. I do have a feeling that watching the Brazil game surrounded by Brazilians will over shadow the in-stadium experience. The city is abuzz and feels like a holiday.
Check out pictures from our FC Dallas World Cup Tour stop at Klyde Warren Park for USA vs. Portugal!
Win a trip to Las Vegas with Budweiser and FC Dallas to attend the Ultimate World Cup Final Watch Party
The World Cup is officially upon us and Budweiser wants to send you to the ULTIMATE 2014 FIFA World Cup Final viewing party in Las Vegas!
You can win a trip for two to the Ultimate World Cup Final VIP party on July 13 in Las Vegas including:
-Round-trip airfare July 12-14 to Las Vegas
-Two nights/Three days lodging at The Palms
-Free food and beverage
-Access to the Sunday, July 13th Ultimate World Cup Final viewing party at The Palms
Entry runs through Wednesday, June 25th and is only eligible for those within a 75-mile radius of Toyota Stadium.
Here's the details on how you can enter:
2. Tweet or Instagram a picture of yourself in your favorite World Cup national team gear using #BudWC14
3. Text BudWC14 to 444-222
One winner will be chosen by random drawing on or about June 26. The winner and a guest will win a trip out to Las Vegas from July 12 - July 14 for the big party with VIP access and much more!
Welcome to the 3rd edition of the FCDallas.com series "Getting Personal". This week I caught up with midfielder Andrew Jacobson.
Andrew was born in Palo Alto, California. He attended UC-Berkeley from 2003 to 2006 where he was named to the All Pac-10 team three times. Jacobson was the 24th overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft and DC United's first pick. Instead of playing in the MLS, he chose to sign a contract with Lorient of France's Ligue 1. Jacobson returned to the MLS in 2009 to DC United. He was then selected by the Philadelphia Union in the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft in November of the same year. Finally, he was treaded to FC Dallas in February of 2011. Jacobson started in 27 games last season and registered a career high in goals at three before being named captain of FC Dallas before the 2014 season.
- What's your earliest soccer memory?
Andrew: Playing for the Lightning Lizards when I was four years old. There were 14 or 15 kids just running around chasing a ball.
- You played a little bit in France, what was the best thing about the country and what was the worst?
Andrew: The weather was definitely the worst and the best was the food. I haven't been back, but I would, just not to Lorient again.
- Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions before every game?
Andrew: I eat the same meal before every game (rice, chicken and spinach), I go to bed at the same time, same schedule.
- What's one thing you'll splurge your money on?
Andrew: Vacations. I go to Hawaii every year, it's my favorite place to go to
- Favorite sports players in general of all time?
Andrew: Chipper Jones
- Favorite movie?
Andrew: What I liked growing up was Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
- Most embarassing moment on the field?
Andrew: I try to black those out so there are none that I can think of
- Favorite world cup memory?
Andrew: Watching Zidane play when France won the 1998 World Cup
- Who do you think is the best player that's playing the world cup right now?
Andrew: Definitely Messi
- Favorite concert you've ever been too?
Andrew: Probably Jack Johnson and Ben Harper in Berkeley
Several members of the FC Dallas family are traveling to Brazil this summer to take in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and have agreed to share their experiences with FCDallas.com to give our readers a first-person perspective of the festivities. Erika Cook and Melissa Janetta work in Business Development and Partnership Marketing for FC Dallas. They've traveled to Curitiba along with FC Dallas Foundation Director Melissa Reddick to do volunteer work with Lionsraw (and watch a little soccer). Give them a follow @2SoleSisters on Twitter and Instagram and keep up with them on Tumblr.
After a few hiccups trying to get on wifi, @2solesisters is officially connected! This will be our second night in Curitiba and things are just getting started. Yesterday was mostly a day of travel and as we arrived in Curitiba we had no idea what to expect but the anxiety was shortly laid to rest when we were greeted by the friendliest people. Everyone was in such good spirits and the hospitality from the airport, to the taxi driver, to the hotel staff was awesome. Thank goodness the one word that we learned before we came was obrigada because we’ve used it a lot! As we walked into our rooms we were excited-ish?? to find out that we have bunk beds.. so much room for activities! We finished our first night by meeting up with a few other fellow volunteers from Lionsraw. They were all so nice and we were able to play a couple friendly games of pool. Melissa and I tried not to hustle them too hard. ;)
Game days in Curitiba are off days for Lions Raw so we were able to easily go get our tickets for the match we attended tonight. After shockingly no lines or hassle to get the tickets we ventured out to get our first meal.. only to find that we literally could read nothing off the menu and our communication with the adorable waitress was extremely lost in translation. Somehow we ended up with burgers and fries and we were ok with that.
After lunch we taxied over to the FIFA Fan Fest, which we jokingly said looks a lot like the Byron Nelson. We were able to watch the Italy game on the big screen, but found ourselves in the middle of anxious Ecuadorians everywhere we turned. After Fan Fast we headed to our very first World Cup game at Arena da Baixada. It’s a beautiful stadium for the beautiful game. The energy we were able to experience tonight is something we will never forget, so tonight before we head off to bed to get ready for our busy day of coaching futbol clinics tomorrow we find ourselves chanting “vamos Ecuatorianos que esta noche tenemos que ganar!”
Ciao for now,
The biggest World Cup event in Dallas since 1994 hits Klyde Warren Park this Sunday afternoon as FC Dallas, KWP & McDonald's are teaming up for the biggest FCD World Cup Tour stop yet to watch the United States take on Portugal. With a win or a draw, the United States is all but guaranteed to advance to the knockout round, so join us for what should be a crowd in the thousands much like what you see around the country and around the world at World Cup fan fests!
We've had a number of questions about this event, so here's some FAQ's that will hopefully help you before coming out on Sunday afternoon.
Can I bring food and drinks to Klyde Warren?
Coolers, food and non-alcoholic drinks are permitted and subject to search from park security. No alcohol or glass is permitted at the park. Alcoholic drinks and food will be available via portable bars, food trucks and various vendors.
Where can I park?
Where can I sit for the game?
The Ginsburg Family Great Lawn will be the site of the game with the screen in front of the Muse Family Performance Pavilion. The lawn closest to the stage will be a blanket seating area only and the lawn area across from Hart Boulevard will be open for lawn chairs and standing room. Please refer to the Klyde Warren map for more details.
How big is the screen?
The screen is an elevated 16 foot by 20 foot LED screen.
When should I arrive?
The LHK will get things going right around 4:00PM and the match kicks off at 5:00PM, but we encourage everyone to arrive early as thousands are expected to be in attendance at the biggest World Cup party in DFW!
How can we make this an event that unites the whole city?
Invite your friends via our Facebook event, talk it up, get all your friends who live down in that area to come out. Let's make this an unforgettable day!
For all other questions please visit the Klyde Warren website Q&A's.
Here's your match highlights from FCD's 2-0 win over San Antonio in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup action:
Several members of the FC Dallas family are traveling to Brazil this summer to take in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and have agreed to share their experiences with FCDallas.com to give our readers a first-person perspective of the festivities. Today's entry comes from Mobile Sales Team Manager Ryan Hurtado from Rio de Janeiro.
I'll keep this one as succinct as possible.
The amount of US support in Rio was amazing!
Yesterday while wearing my away kit and and matching board shorts, I was ready to cheer my heart out for this US. We started with breakfast for the Portugal-Germany match at the "Gringo Cafe." A place where American food, drink and traditions are shared. From there, we took in Rio De Janeiro's FIFA Fan Fest on CopaCabana beach. As we walked the streets, constant chants of U-S-A were chanted aloud from English, Americans and Brazilians alike.
Upon arrival it was evident, Americans were ready to represent in Brazil. The music was all American from Guns and Roses to Springsteen and "Born in the USA." As the chants grew, the "I Believes" became stronger, kick was underway. I am not sure if my country pride has ever been stronger. Instantly with Dempsey's fantastic finish the crowd erupted! From tears, hugs and kisses from strangers, it felt like we were outside the White House cheering on our USMNT!
We know how the game panned out and my son will now be named John Anthony. As the whistle blew and the crowd exploded, the screams (I currently can't speak,) the chants and the music was all in accordance for a feeling that I can't only describe as a state of euphoria that was the most intense in my entire life! Seriously, the Fan Fest was the greatest thing I have ever been a part of! This reached it's pinnacle when the PA systems blasted "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana and 20,000 plus screamed every lyric while in a joyous mosh pit. The actions we took for this day will be repeated for the following US matches out of superstition to ensure we get out of the group. (We are just trying to do our part).
I know my words will not truly embody what we experienced, but this is a story and feeling I want to share for the rest of my life!
With that day in my memory, I know that soccer is real now in America and if that support grows, the sky is the limit for the US!
I Believe, Ryan
The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup begins for FC Dallas tonight in the fourth round against the San Antonio Scorpions at 8pm at Toyota Stadium. FCD played in a total of three game last year winning two before falling in the quarterfinal round. Let's take a look back at how the tournament went for FCD last year.
Game 1 - Third round - May 29th, 2013 - FC Dallas 2, Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 0: The first half saw clean sheets from both sides until ultimately Blas Perez and Matt Hedges were able to come through to help FCD gain the win in the second half played at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
In the 54th minute, Je-Vaughn Watson sent a cross to Castillo at the far post who then kicked the ball to Blas Perez who was unmarked in front of the goal. Perez slid under Strikers goalkeeper to give FCD the lead. They scored their second goal in the 64th minute that would eventually be the last goal of the match. Michel took a free kick that found Hedges at the far post and he was able to easily head the ball into the goal.
USOC HIGHLIGHTS: FCD 3, HOU 0
Game 2 - Fourth Round - June 12th, 2013 - FC Dallas 3, Houston Dynamo 0: The scoring opened for FCD in the 38th minute when Michel sent a ball to Jacobson at the far post who then tapped the ball to Cooper in front of the goal who was able to send it past the Dyanmo goalkeeper. The second goal came just before the 60th minute when MIchel again served a corner kick right to Cooper in front of the goal who headed it home. Dallas closed out the game in the 76th minute when Dynamo keeper fumbled a ball that came back out in front of Zach Loyd who chipped the ball over the keeper from 20 yards out.
USOC HIGHLIGHTS: FCD 2, PTFC 3
Game 3 - Quarterfinals - June 26th, 2013 - FC Dallas 2, Portland Timbers 3: FCD opened up the game in the 15th minute with a strike from Je-Vaughn Watson. As quick as FCD gained the lead, they lost it. Portland responded to Dallas' goal with three goals for their own. Perez was able to notch FCD their second goal to come within reach of the Timbers and David Ferreira hit the post with the final kick of the match, but ultimately it wasn't enough as the TImbers advanced to the semi-finals of the US Open Cup eliminating FCD.
Check out the best photos from the FC Dallas World Cup Tour pres. by McDonald's watch parties at the British Beverage Co. and the Alamo Drafthouse!