In honor of the upcoming Independence Day weekend, FCDallas.com sat down with several FCD players to talk about their Fourth of July plans, favorite traditions and connections to the Armed Forces.
FCDallas.com: Do you have any family or friends in the military?
Eric Avila, Midfielder (San Diego, California)
My cousin Robert is a Navy SEAL. He’s based in San Diego right now. He’s a big follower. Every time I come home he wants to take me to his base, and he always talks about me there. I feel like all his base knows about me. When I scored a goal, he sent out this mass e-mail telling his whole base to vote for me for Goal of the Week last year.
He’s been to Afghanistan; he’s done all that. He’s been everywhere. He doesn’t tell me where, he just tells me he’s out on a mission, but he tells me cool stories.
I know he’s proud of me, so he wants to tell all his friends and take me on his base.
Zach Loyd, Defender (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
I live with my cousin right now and he served for eight years in the Army. His name is Roger Jones. He was in Iraq and then he lived in Germany for a while.
I don’t know a whole lot about it except that being in the Army is a great honor and really hard to do. To go over there and serve the country, especially when there are so many opportunities here, I think to volunteer to do that is pretty honorable, pretty awesome.
Dax McCarty, Midfielder (Winter Park, Florida)
(My dad) had a very decorated career in the Navy. He was a fighter pilot and he actually flew in the Top Gun squadron, which they actually based the movie Top Gun off of. He did all that stuff; he flew in Vietnam off of aircraft carriers. He has some pretty cool pictures. He’s definitely an inspiration.
FCDallas.com: What are some of your favorite Fourth of July traditions?
Anthony Wallace, Defender (St. Petersburg, Florida)
Usually it would be go down to Miami with my family, go down to the beach, watch the fireworks, walk around and just have a good time.
Avila: We usually go to the beach. We always camp out and my whole family comes to the beach. We just sit there and camp and ride the Jet Skis and it’s cool because we’re next to the beach – next to Sea World – so we see all the fireworks at Sea World. It’s really nice. It’s just San Diego, it’s paradise.
Loyd: We just get all of our family together and have a big barbeque and set off fireworks in the road. I’m from the country so we don’t have any restrictions.
Kevin Hartman, Goalkeeper (Palos Verdes, California)
Usually on the Fourth of July, back when I didn’t have to play a game, I would go to the beach and barbeque with my friends, just have a great time.
I had the opportunity to visit the Air Force base where they actually had the stealth bombers in Kansas. That was a really cool opportunity to meet a bunch of the pilots and it’s been something that I’ve always considered one of the highlights of my soccer career in terms of off the field stuff. The opportunity to be in the cockpit of one of those stealth bombers was really, really cool.
I usually just take the opportunity to hang out with family and friends. It’s really cool for me because I’ve actually been a part of a bunch of the biggest celebrations for Fourth of July in whichever city I’ve been playing in because of the fact that the soccer and the fireworks thing kind of go hand in hand. I’ve really kind of relished that.
I’ve been a part of some really big games. At the Rose Bowl we’ve played in front of 70,000 people on the Fourth of July. It was just really something that was cool. The fireworks shows have always been amazing.
George John, Defender (Shoreline, Washington)
My family has a cabin up in Washington on a really nice lake, and every year we have a big party out there. I’ve got a lot of good memories of just being with family and friends and watching great firework displays. It’s always a good time, great weather and lots of fun.
Heath Pearce, Defender (Modesto, California)
(In Europe) I would get fireworks. They have fireworks there, but not for the Fourth of July. I would find them whenever I could throughout the year, whenever they had them, and light them off. But they don’t have fun ones, they just have boring ones.
Brek Shea, Midfielder/Forward (College Station, Texas)
Buy lots and lots of fireworks, and a bonfire at my house in College Station. We do s’mores.
McCarty: Obviously I haven’t been home for the past couple Fourth of Julys. We always used to go to a little racket club we were involved in. We would always go out and sit by the pool and they would always have a little party.
It was actually on the lake and they would have this big barge out on the lake and just do like a 30-minute fireworks show. We would always go swimming and barbeque and have a whole bunch of family and friends around.
FCDallas.com: What are your plans looking like for this Fourth of July?
Avila: I have no clue yet. I haven’t made any plans. Trying to look for a beach or a lake or something. I’m a Cali boy, so I have to go out.
Loyd: We’re going to my uncle’s house. They live out in the country and my family’s coming up and some other aunts and uncles. They’re going to come catch the game and then we’re going to watch the fireworks show here. Then probably go to Kaboom Town in Addison. Then go to my uncle’s Saturday night. And on Sunday just barbeque, fireworks, hang out with family.
Hartman: I heard there was a Fourth of July parade, a kid’s parade or something in the area, so I was going to try to take my daughter out and make sure she enjoys that.
John: No big plans. Hopefully some of the guys and I will figure something out to do. Other than that, no big plans, just focusing on the game on Saturday.
McCarty: This year I really haven’t made any plans. I’m sure we’ll figure out something to do with some guys on the team. I would like to go to a beach somewhere or something. That’s usually what I did if I wasn’t out there on the lake. But I’m not sure; don’t have any plans so far. I’m sure I’ll buy some sparklers and light them off in my backyard to celebrate.
Be sure to come out to Pizza Hut Park on Saturday, July 3 to watch FC Dallas take on the Kansas City Wizards. The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m., but get there early for Happy Hour in the Pizza Hut Park Beer Garden featuring hamburgers, $2 beers and $4 wine and margaritas.
The night will also feature a halftime presentation from The American Fallen Soldiers Project and a post-game Independence Day fireworks display.
For more information, visit FC Dallas Promotional Nights.