Top Gun inspiration in FC Dallas playoff run

Veterans Day is a celebration of service and survival for McCarty

NEW YORK – It’s not everyone that can say their dad was a
Top Gun. FC Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty is among the lucky few.

McCarty’s dad, Dart, was a pilot in the Navy for 10 years,
working his way up from fighter pilot to the highest rank of Top Gun pilot.

“It made me love the movie Top Gun,” said FCD’s McCarty, who
was born after his father retired to become a commercial pilot for the now
defunct Eastern Airlines.

“Growing up it meant a lot that he was part of defending our
country and definitely something I take with me and having a lot of pride in,” McCarty

Although Dart never participated in active combat duty, he
flew missions over Vietnam during the armistice, and the pictures and stories have
inspired McCarty to this day when he has represented the US on the youth and
senior national team levels.

But this Veterans Day is not just about a celebration of patriotism
but one of survival. This summer Dart was diagnosed with throat cancer and he has
had to fight through chemotherapy and radiation. The results of all the
treatments came through in test results received just a couple of weeks ago.

“The PET scan showed that he is cancer free,” McCarty said. “Doctors
told him they thought it was a miracle. He recovered very fast and killed it
[the cancer] quickly.

“He still has to undergo some treatment but I’m proud how he
handled the situation and it makes me want to win for this team [FC Dallas] and
for him that much more because I know what he’s been through.”

As if McCarty needed any more motivation. The central
midfielder has proven to be one of the top performers in these MLS Cup Playoffs,
with his trademark hustle and grit.

If they hope to advance to their first ever MLS Cup final, FC
Dallas will need more of the same from McCarty this Sunday at The Home Depot
Center in the Western Conference Championship against Los Angeles.

“My grandparents and my dad’s old friend said that he had
kind of had that never-say-die mentality and that tough attitude,” McCarty
said. “He wanted to be the best and that desire and attitude got him to Top Gun.
As a younger kid, he was always pushing me to get to the next level and I have
him to thank for any success I’ve experienced.”