This is the first of a four-part series highlighting FC Dallas’ Supporters Groups. They will appear on FCDallas.com each Wednesday in February.
When it comes to who fills the seats in sports stadiums, there are sports fans and then there are soccer supporters groups.
Soccer supporters groups are an entirely different bunch. While they support the players, the coach, and the administration, they cherish the club’s colors and shield more than anything.
Supporters of Italian club Verona for example chant the following before matches: “Players and coaches come and go, but we are for ever, for ever, yellow and blue.”
The same can be said of supporters group Dallas Football Elite (DFE). They love FC Dallas.
Founder and current president Sean Dorwaldt attended FC Dallas matches with friends for several years searching for a group to join and tailgate with.
Dorwaldt, a Frisco-area school teacher, was going to purchase some group tickets before he was approached by FC Dallas marketing brass in 2011 to discuss the formation of a new supporters group.
“We explained that we were very interested, but we wanted to have good seats and not be stuck in the bleachers,” Dorwaldt recalled. “When they assured us that we did not have to follow the template that was laid out for supporter groups and that we could make our group whatever we wanted it to be, the planning of the group began.
“After the idea was reviewed by the group, we decided that we wanted our group to be organized, well planned, and have a European feel to it,” he continued. “We wanted our group to be open to all sports fans, not just soccer fans.”
And thus came the formation of DFE in Section 103 of FC Dallas Stadium today numbering 38 members.
While 2011 was DFE’s charter year, they were certainly not lacking in the creativity department.
They created the Freedom Warrior – a spoof of Mel Gibson’s character in Braveheart – in full costume with a real Scottish kilt, painted face, plastic sword, all the while delivering those piercing screams to Section 103.
“The fans around us love him, the players love him, and the visiting clubs get annoyed by him,” said Dorwaldt.
In addition to the chants from the Freedom Warrior, DFE differs from other supporters group in that they consider their first priority to heckle the visiting club (conveniently located behind the visiting bench) rather than sing chants.
The group does not charge membership fees and encourages all walks of life to join their blue-shirted army.
“No matter who you are, no matter how serious you are, no matter how much money you have, the DFE is the group for you,” said Dorwaldt.
DFE has plans for a Beer Pong tailgating tournament this season with all the proceeds going to charity and you can often find them at the Londoner Frisco mapping out an upcoming game.
With DFE’s one year birthday coming up on February 16, Year Two promises to deliver more success to the ever-growing group as they show their support from the west end of FC Dallas Stadium.