While the offseason is a time for MLS players to rest and recouperate with pre-season just around the corner, it's still important for players to stay in shape and FC Dallas forward Blas Perez took that to another level last Sunday. Every December, the Panama marathon is held in and around Panama City and this year, for the first time, Blas ran the 21km half-marathon.
"It was a new experience for me as an athlete," said Perez from Panama.
While "Super Raton" is not necessarily known as a speed burner on the field, his time in the half-marathon of 2:00:57 - a little over 9:00 minutes per mile - is certainly a respectable one.
"I thought I did great, especially for it being the first time," said Blas "I want to give a big hug to everyone back in Dallas."
Over 2,000 runners competed in this 38th edition of the Panama Marathon and Blas(@SuperRaton7) took to Twitter after the race retweeting notes from his fans and pictures of himself from the race.
Mis respetos a todos los corredores de fondo/semi fondo, es un gran sacrificio los entrenamientos y luego la competencia un gran logro!
— Blas Pérez (@superraton7) December 1, 2013
(Thanks to David Sakata/Diario Pro for the photos)
To bring in the holiday season, ShopFCDallas.com and the Team Store are offering a series of specials on merchandise from December 3 - December 13. The deals will change daily, offering a different special each day of the week, so you can get your favorite FC Dallas fan everything on their holiday wishlist.
The holiday shopping calendar displays nine days of exclusive deals, including $15 shirts, hats and scarves. The week of deals is concluded with a day of 40% off your entire purchase, which gives you the opportunity to benefit from the specials even if you wait until the last minute.
Today marks the start of the merchandise specials with all shirts marked down to $15. Don't miss your opportunity to get your Toxic Cooper Tee or FC Dallas Elite Tee, normally priced at $30, for half the cost!
If you're looking for an extra $25 Fan Shop Gift Card, tomorrow (December 4) is your day to shop. With any purchase of $50 or more, you'll recieve a gift card as a bonus. So head over to ShopFCDallas.com and grab an 2013 FC Dallas Red Hoodie ($65) for someone special, and score a $25 gift card for yourself!
By spending $60 or more on Thursday, December 12, fans will recieve a free FCD training top or pregame jersey. Go out on December 12 and grab that FC Dallas Presentation Jacket ($75) you've had your eye on all season, and you'll also get the free FCD pregame jersey or training top!
And if you miss out on the first eight days of specials, don't be concerned. Head over to the store or ShopFCDallas.com on December 13 and get 40% off your entire purchase. There's a merchandise special for every person on your holiday shopping list!
SEGMENT 1: Stein and Steve, reunited in studio after a week apart, preview Saturday’s MLS Cup final in Kansas City pitting Sporting KC against Real Salt Lake, with lots of talk about the job Jason Kreis has done at RSL as well as a look at the scheduling options for the final.
SEGMENT 2: Soccer Today favorite Gabriel Marcotti from ESPN FC and The Times of London returns to the show to preview next week’s other big event on the calendar … Friday’s draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
SEGMENT 3: Coach of the Year in Major League Soccer? And more importantly: Most Valuable Player? The boys run through the options in both categories after Dallas native Dillon Powers was named MLS Rookie of the Year in the wake of his fine debut season in Colorado.
SEGMENT 4: Hunter Jumper, another top-notch Dallas product who starred at Greenhill School while also playing in the vaunted Solar program, joins the guys to share the story of a harrowing car crash Tuesday on an icy mountain in Virginia that left the Chicago Fire defender feeling grateful to be alive thanks to a true Thanksgiving Miracle that kept him safe from harm.
For most college students, today begins the week before finals that we all know and love as "Dead Week," and FCD is here to help get you through the week of studying!
Look out for the mobile FCD Tour with free FCD swag, Deja Blue water and Dr Pepper as well as a special 2014 college student season ticket deal
Here's the schedule for the week:
Monday, Dec. 2, 11AM-1PM – Texas Wesleyan University; outside of the Brown-Lupton Campus Center
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 12-2PM – TCU; inside of the Brown-Lupton University Union
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 1-3PM – Collin College Preston Ridge Campus; in the Quad area
Thursday, Dec. 5, 12-2PM – SMU; by the flagpole on campus
This weekend brings the annual Bobby Rhine Invitational back to the Toyota Soccer Center. The U-11 through U-16 tournament brings nearly 50 teams to Frisco with the U-13 through U-16 divisions serving as a qualifier to Dr Pepper Dallas Cup.
With the tournament coming over the weekend of Thanksgiving, we want to encourage everyone to bring new or gently used soccer gear whether it's cleats, shorts, socks, jerseys or even school supplies.
The donations will be going to a special cause as our U-14 Academy team will once again be headed to Bolivia next year for the prestigious Tahuichi invitational. While in Bolivia, the kids will be visiting the Menuts Del Mon Orphanage and donating all the gear collected at the Bobby Rhine Invitational.
The collection box will be set up by the concession stand near field 10 so bring your soccer gear donations to the Bobby Rhine Invitation at the Toyota Soccer Center this weekend!
MLS is one game away from crowning a champion as Sporting KC hosts Real Salt Lake in MLS Cup 2013 and we want you to join us for our second annual MLS Cup watching party at The Allen Wickers Pub & Grill on Saturday, December 7.
Kickoff is set for 3:00PM and we'll have great prizes to give away at halftime including a Mauro Diaz-signed scarf, George John-signed FC Dallas tee, Allen Wickers gift cards and plenty more! We will also be hosting a soccer ball drive to support the FC Dallas Foundation Gear Up Project presented by Albertsons Market.
It's the last MLS game until our March 8 season-opener against Montreal so bring a new or used soccer ball and come out to Allen Wickers on Saturday, December 7 and help us crown a 2013 MLS Cup champion!
SEGMENT 1: The World Cup field of 32 is set. With Steve and Landry in the studio, Stein connects by phone from California to make the claim that Planet Futbol would have missed Cristiano Ronaldo much more than Zlatan Ilbrahimovic next summer if Portgual had failed to win their World Cup playoff against Sweden.
SEGMENT 2: Mexico, in the end, booked its trip to Brazil with ease, coming away from its two-legged playoff series with New Zealand with a 9-3 aggregate victory after its worst qualification campaign in memory. ESPN's Monica Gonzalez, former captain of Mexico's women's national team, returns to the show to take the pulse of her countrymen after some long-awaited success for El Tri.
SEGMENT 3: Stein returns via phone to help Steve put a bow on the U.S. men's national team 2013 campaign and discuss the potential impact, real or imagined, of LeBron James' potential partnership with David Beckham in an ownership group in charge of a Major League Soccer expansion franchise in Miami.
SEGMENT 4: In the heart of the the MLS playoffs, Sports Illustrated's Brian Straus drops by to help Steve assess Sporting KC's Final Four ousting of Houston in the East ... and to look ahead at the second leg of Real Salt Lake's West duel with Portland.
The 2014 FC Dallas schedule is out and have we got the ticket plan for you, just in time for the holidays!
With our FC Dallas Holiday Premier Pack, you get tickets to four of our biggest matches of the season. You'll have a seat to our opening day match on March 8 against the Montreal Impact, a battle against Clint Dempsey and the Sounders on Saturday, April 12, our perennialy sold out July 4 extravaganza vs. Philadelphia and the only visit of the LA Galaxy to Toyota Stadium on Sunday, October 12.
This is called the Premier Pack for a reason, however, and we're not stopping there. We're going to let you pick two more additional matches of your choice.
Perhaps you'd like to see Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls come to town plus a huge conference matchup against Oscar Pareja and the Colorado Rapids. Or maybe you'd like to go for a Cascadia double with Caleb Porter's Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps. It's up to you!
That's right, tickets to the six biggest games of the season and it's all starting at just $96!
Skip the fruit cake this year and treat your family and friends to an FC Dallas Holiday Premier Pack because the season will be here before you know it!
We haven't crowned a 2013 champion yet, but for FC Dallas fans, today is the day that focus turns to next season as we unveil the full 2014 schedule. Here are a few highlights:
Spring into soccer
You're going to have a bunch of opportunities to see FCD at home early in the year. Five of the first seven games in 2014 are at home. In addition, the first two games away from Toyota Stadium are road-trippable affairs at Sporting Kansas City and Houston, so for die-hard FC Dallas fans, catching the first seven games of the year is a realistic proposition.
Saturday nights in Frisco
Whatever plans you have for Saturday nights from March through October, you might want to adjust them. 12 of the 17 home games in 2014 are Saturday night affairs including five of the first seven games. Also returning in 2014 are the popular 8:00PM kickoffs during the summer.
Friday night's alright for soccer
One interesting feature of the 2014 schedule is the appearance of two Friday night kickoffs. FCD has only played two Friday games in the history of Toyota Stadium with one of those coming on the traditional Fourth of July game. One of the two Friday night games this year will be the July 4 game against the Philadelphia Union while on Friday, August 22, Dallas will host Real Salt Lake.
Only twice this year will FCD have the much-maligned three match weeks and both of them fall in an incredibly busy month of May. Dallas will play seven games in all through the month of May with grueling three-match weeks on May 4-10 and May 17-24.
Western Conference showdown
In an effort to enhance the run in to the playoffs, MLS has backloaded the schedules with intra-conference matchups. 13 of the final 14 matches of the season will pit FCD against Western Conference foes including two matches against both Los Angeles and Vancouver in the final two months of the season.
World Cup break
As we did in 2010, Major League Soccer will be shutting down for two weeks during the 2014 FIFA World Cup group stage. FC Dallas will not take the field between Wednesday, June 11's match at Portland and Saturday, June 28's match in Columbus. In addition, FCD will not hit the Toyota Stadium field in MLS action for almost a month between June 7 and July 4, though a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game or two could hit Frisco during that month.
So who's ready to kick off the season?
The MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Finals will finish this weekend, with Sporting Kansas City hosting the Houston Dynamo Saturday night on the NBC Sports Network and Real Salt Lake visiting the Portland Timbers on ESPN Sunday night. RSL enters the second leg with a two-goal advantage after their 4-2 win at Rio Tinto Stadium two weeks ago, while Kansas City and the Dynamo played to a 0-0 draw in Houston.
FC Dallas players Matt Hedges and Eric Hassli, along with the FCDallas.com editorial staff, made their Conference Finals predictions two weeks ago, but it's still anybody's guess which two teams will wind up playing for the MLS Cup.
Let us know in the comments what your predictions are and who you think will lift the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.
POR vs. RSL
LEG 1: RSL 4-2 POR
LEG 2: 11/24 @ 8pm - ESPN
SKC vs. HOU
LEG 1: HOU 0-0 SKC
LEG 2: 11/23 @ 6:30pm - NBCSN