The FC Dallas development pipeline just got a little bit shorter.
On Monday, the club announced a two-year USL affiliation agreement with Oklahoma City Energy FC. Here’s a quick brush up on the organization just a three-hour drive from Frisco.
Energy FC is set to begin their third season in 2016 after reaching the USL Playoffs for the first time last season, getting knocked out in the Western Conference Final. OKC spent their first two seasons as the primary affiliate of Sporting KC, and former SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen is entering his third season as the team’s head coach. In just two seasons, the club graduated four players to the Sporting first team: Kevin Ellis, Jon Kempin, Jimmy Medranda and Mikey Lopez.
OKC finished tied for the most points in the Western Conference during the regular season, and was led up front by Danish striker Danni Konig with 21 goals in 28 league games. The club currently has nine returning players on USL contracts for 2016 – defenders Michael Thomas, Kalen Ryden and Coady Andrews, midfielders Gareth Evans, Chuy Sanchez and Daniel Gonzalez, forwards Konig and Peter Toth, and goalkeeper Ray Clark.
Prior to the 2015 season, OKC moved into the newly-renovated Taft Stadium located downtown with a capacity of over 7,000 seats. The stadium is beacon of Oklahoma history dating back to the mid-1930s. Originally used to host professional football and soccer games, as well as stock car races and concerts, the stadium is now home to Oklahoma City high school sports and Energy FC. The team donates a portion of each ticket sold to a non-profit organization working to rebuild 44 athletic fields in the OKC public schools system.
The Black Gold Derby
Like the Texas Derby, the two top-level pro franchises in the state of Oklahoma battle for dominance. OKC’s top rival lies just down the Turnpike in second-year club Tulsa Roughnecks FC. The traveling trophy for the Derby is a 4-foot pipe wrench, representing the state’s rich oil and gas industry. One side of the wrench is painted green and the other painted orange, representing each team’s primary color, while a blue stripe, a color shared by both teams, separates the two sides.