FRISCO, Texas – At most FC Dallas home games, College Station native Brek Shea has a strong contingent of family in the stands – especially since his grandmother, an aunt and two cousins all live in the Dallas area.
But on Wednesday night at Pizza Hut Park, all four members of Shea’s extended family were part of the 218 women down on the stadium field, dribbling and passing with their soccer star relative, as part of the second annual FC Dallas Soccer 101 For Women.
“They come out to every game and watch us pass the ball, shoot the ball,” said Shea. “Tonight they get to be on the game field with us and we get to teach them the things they see us do every day.”
The event, which is free and open to women of all ages, brings together FC Dallas players, coaches and broadcasters to teach the fundamentals of soccer in a relaxed, interactive atmosphere.
This year’s event kicked off with FCD broadcasters Bobby Rhine and Steve Jolley welcoming the crowd before splitting into five groups that rotated around to stations throughout the stadium.
“What we hope they take away from this event is a deeper understanding for the club and a deeper understanding for what players go through on and off the field,” Rhine said. “At the end of the evening they become ambassadors for FC Dallas, which is exactly what the organization would want them to be.”
The stations covered everything from how to fuel an active lifestyle with proper eating habits (led by FC Dallas nutritionist Eve Pearson Rodgers); the basics of dribbling and passing (led by Shea and FCD goalkeeper coach Drew Keeshan); rules and strategies of the game (led by Chris Clarke, director of player development for the FCD Juniors); proper workout techniques and taking care of the body (led by FCD athletic trainer Josh Watts); and a question and answer session with FC Dallas players Heath Pearce and Kevin Hartman.
Of the 218 women who participated, some came from as far as two hours away to be a part of the annual event.
“I wanted to come last year but couldn’t make it, so I thought I’d come and see what it’s all about,” said Victoria Elderfield, a season ticket holder who drove in from Joshua, Texas about 75 miles away. “It was just nice to get some perspective on what the guys go through on a daily basis and hear them talk about everything that goes on out here behind the scenes.”
Elderfield, who hasn’t missed an FC Dallas game in three years, was accompanied by Samantha Elder, also a season ticket holder and member of the supporters group The Inferno.
“My favorite part was being able to score a goal on Brek Shea, that was priceless,” laughed Elder. “It took me three tries but I did it. There was a little smack talking afterwards but it was a lot of fun.”
But perhaps the gem of the night came from 19-year old Kathleen Hearn, an aspiring goalkeeper eager to pick the brain of MLS veteran Kevin Hartman.
“What do you like best about being a goalkeeper?” asked Hearn during the final station. Hartman gave a thoughtful, detailed answer before turning to Pearce.
“I like it when they pick the ball up out of the back of the
net,” said Pearce to a roomful of applause. “But maybe I have a little
different perspective than Kevin does.”