No other professional sports team in Dallas has the pioneering legacy of FC Dallas. The story of FC Dallas is tied to Dallas’ soccer history, which began in 1966 when Lamar Hunt attended a World Cup match in England and was inspired to bring professional soccer to the U.S.
Mr. Hunt formed the Dallas Tornado, one of the first professional soccer clubs in the U.S., and the NASL (North American Soccer League) in 1967. The team carried a roster of professional players transported from Europe. When their playing days were over many of these players, such as Bobby Moffat and Kenny Cooper Sr., began second careers in coaching/conducting clinics, further spreading interest and developing talent in North Texas.
Professional soccer continued in Dallas through the 1980’s with the rise of the indoor Dallas Sidekicks. Former Tornado players Billy Phillips and Neil Cohen played significant roles in the success of the Sidekicks.
The United States was awarded the 1994 World Cup. Not only was Lamar Hunt key to the bid to bring the World Cup to the U.S., but his leadership also influenced the creation of MLS.
In 1995, Dallas was awarded a charter team in MLS, the only FIFA sanctioned first division league in the U.S. The Dallas Burn won its first Championship, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, in 1997.
Hunt Sports Group, an original investor in MLS, acquired the Burn in 2002 and launched plans to build a soccer-specific stadium in North Texas. After an intensive search process, HSG, City of Frisco, Frisco Independent School District and Collin County developed the first public/private soccer specific stadium in the US.
In 2005, the team was relaunched as FC Dallas. With a new name, new European-style jerseys and a first-class venue in FC Dallas Stadium, Lamar Hunt, and the Hunt Sports Group again helped to solidify the future of soccer in our region.
The continued success and growth of youth soccer in Dallas and the surrounding areas is directly related to Mr. Hunt’s four decades of supporting soccer at all levels. Mr. Hunt’s vision is carried on today through his sons, Clark and Dan, and the fans of FC Dallas.
Since his passing in 2006, players of FC Dallas have worn a patch with a Circle LH to honor the legacy of Lamar Hunt.
Thank you, Uncle Lamar.