FRISCO - We all know about the milestones he accomplished and of course over the years we learned to love him and appreciate him for the person he is. I am sure there are far more moments than this, but here are five moments (in no specific order) that show how Papi made us love him even more.
If there are a few words to define the mentality of Oscar Pareja, then “Busca la forma” or “Find a Way” is the perfect one. Pareja who has a way of motivating players not only gave some of the best speeches to the team, but he also showcased them. You’ve heard him say: “When you run for me, I run for you. When you walk for me, I walk for you.” You witnessed the players explain their relationship with him and we all know he took Fabian Castillo under his roof. For him, there was no excuses, you earned your respect and you always had to busca la forma.
Yup, it is definitely customary for a postgame handshake to occur between coaches, however who would ever forget when Pareja didn’t offer ex-Portland coach Caleb Porter his hand. Instead, Pareja gave hime a tissue, which Porter threw back at Pareja.
There was plenty of talk after the incident about who was at fault for the scene, however truth is emotions are always a part of the sport and Papi expressed his true emotions of competition. When asked about the event, Pareja said “those things belong on the field, so I’m not going to talk about Mr. Porter. I’m not going to talk about anything specific,” but he did leave some clues about the final message. “We need to help our referees in MLS. All that crying and yelling does not help the league. I’m going to include myself. The message is, we need to stop crying.”
One thing was obvious, this incident helped bring some passion and personality to MLS. So if you need to refresh your memory, well see for yourself.
A Man of the Fans
Oscar Pareja walked onto the field to a round of applause from the south end, walked all the way across the field and is now making his way through the beer garden thanking fans for sticking around.— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) August 19, 2018
Hearing an aim for a 9:40 kickoff if weather continues to hold off. #FCDvMIN pic.twitter.com/z7BRin07Be
It’s pouring rain outside, you are in the stands waiting on the two-and-a-half rain delay to be over, but guess who you see? That’s right, Oscar Pareja walking your way and saying “thank you.” Regardless of the heavy rain that delayed kickoff against Minnesota, Oscar Pareja went outside and walked all the way from the South End to the North End to show his appreciation.
That’s the type of person Pareja has always been. A sincere, humble, hard-working and a genuinely thankful man for what the game has given him. I guarantee you that a few will remember that 2-0 win on August 18, 2018, but many will recall the gestures Pareja always had for the fans.
Oscar always created experiences where players could learn from one another.
The FC Dallas Special Olympics Unified Team, supported by Globe Life had an annual joint training session with the First Team. When they trained together you could tell how much fun both teams had as Oscar's big smile showcased the emotions in those trainings. In fact, he played alongside them in a 5v5 matchup. Pareja knew how diverse the FC Dallas team is and was always appreciative and welcomed people with open arms.
He always had an outstanding attitude towards people and remember last year when the Imani Milele Children’s Choir visited the Toyota Soccer Center, you remember that he invited them to the locker room for a special concert.
We’ve been lucky enough to see Oscar Pareja as the passionate head coach that lead FC Dallas for the past five seasons. Aside from the 29 players on his roster, and the countless Academy players he watched develop, he is also a father of three.
Papi has definitely left a mark in FC Dallas, but he is also an inspiration for his son, Diego Pareja, who is following his father footsteps. As soccer connects them closer together, they also share the same midfield position. He gave us glimpses of his father and son relationship and made us remember that his goals on and off the field always aligned. As a player he always wanted them to play their best and be the best they could possibly be, and for his son, it was no different.