The newest addition to the FC Dallas family is veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who was acquired from the Kansas City Wizards on March 8. The four-time MLS All-Star holds all major goalkeeping records in MLS history, including games played in goal (333), wins in goal (146), saves in goal (1,235) and shutouts (84).
FCDallas.com caught up with Hartman on the practice pitch to find out more about the platinum-haired saves specialist.
FCD.com: This is your third MLS team. What's the process like when you join a new team in a new city?
Kevin Hartman: Well, I think that you go through it and you take a look at the positives. Obviously if the team is interested in you then you feel confident and you're excited about the new challenge. I always feel like getting into the community as quickly as possible and getting engaged with the fan base is important for me. But just working hard - I think if you're able to prove to the other players that you care about this, and that you're willing to work for it - they have a lot of respect for that.
I've played with a lot of the guys on the team before and have a ton of respect for them. It's a place that I'm excited about coming because I really feel like the team is very, very good and has the opportunity to be successful. This is my third team, and I felt really fortunate to be in L.A. for 10 years. But I also felt fortunate to go to Kansas City and was able to prove that I could play at a high level away from home. So now to have the chance to do it again in Dallas is something I'm really excited about.
FCD.com: You've won your fair share of trophies. Is there any memory in particular that stands out?
Hartman: I had the opportunity to win the MLS Cup Championship here in 2005, and that memory is something I really hold dear to me. So to be able to come here and play in this great facility and be in Dallas is something I'm excited about.
FCD.com: Fans obviously know you're a talented goalkeeper, but they may not know that you've actually authored a children's book. Tell us a little bit more about that.
Hartman: I was doing a lot of literacy work for Major League Soccer back when they had a literacy program, and I always found myself reading Dr. Seuss. I didn't necessarily connect with Dr. Seuss - even though I have to read them all the time to my daughter - and I thought it was interesting that I was a soccer player but we never talked about soccer.
So I wrote a children's book called Boots Saves the Day. It's about a kitten who wants to play soccer, and it's really a cool thing - he overcomes a lot of obstacles and in the end he perseveres.
It was really an opportunity to kind of connect with a younger group of kids and hopefully provide them with a little bit of an impetus to get out there and read, not because they have to for school but because they really enjoy it....I didn't really get into reading personally until I had enough free time like on an airplane or something, so that's when I started reading and realized what a great world is out there for it.
FCD.com: You'll be relocating your family to the Dallas area, tell us a little bit more about them.
Hartman: Well, my wife's name is Jennifer and she's a graphic designer. She actually stopped working for a little bit because we have (daughter) Chloe Madison now, who's a great girl. She's always up for whatever, she loves playing and likes to run around a lot. She's just a fireball; she's three and a half now (Chloe was born in November of 2006).
It's fun to watch her grow and hear her start to put words together and come up with real good arguments as to why she should be allowed to do something versus why she shouldn't be allowed to do it. Over the past couple months especially I've gotten to spend tons and tons of time with her.
And like I said, my wife's a graphic designer and she actually worked on Strike Zone for ESPN and won an Emmy for that (Hartman's wife helped to design the "K-Zone," which accurately outlines the strike zone and pitch location and debuted on ESPN in 2001). So that's her big trophy that she sits beside all my little trophies and laughs at me. We just really have a great relationship, so I can't wait to get them out here to Dallas.
Hartman will see his first action in an FC Dallas uniform on Friday, March 12th as part of the club's second preseason trip to Florida. FC Dallas will take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League at 7:30 p.m. ET in Tampa, followed by a match against Major League Soccer's expansion Philadelphia Union on Sunday, March 14th at 7 p.m. ET.