On the eve of the FC Dallas vs Stoke City friendly match in Frisco, TX the FCD front office decided to treat their Season Ticket Holders (STH). The event is relatively new and has been set up differently each time I’ve attended; you can tell the FCD staff is trying to make it better every single year. This event is to allow dedicated Season Ticket Holders to meet the team on a personal level. It allows the STH’s to interact with the players they watch on a weekly basis, the same players they adore and cheer on every weekend regardless of how they are performing.
Having the STH appreciation day the evening before the match against Stoke City allowed American fans to see how a European team practices. Not only did the STH’s get to watch a private practice, but they also got to stand in on the Press Conference.
Fans were not able to ask questions, but being able to witness a professional press conference isn’t something that happens every day. Here are some highlights from the Press Conference:
Stoke City Head Coach Mark Hughes:
Q: How do you feel your team performed against Houston?
A:”We would have liked to have a better result but on the day Houston did exceptionally well. From our point of view it was our first real test, and we knew it would be difficult for us. The games we’ve had so far are of good quality and they are good tests. It’s what we need at this stage as far as preparation.
Q: With each game played, are you starting to see more of what you’d like to play like when the season begins August 17th?
A:”Well we are still trying to get minutes into the guys. We aren’t about trying to formulate our personnel for the first game against Liverpool, we are not at that stage.Â
Q: How have you seen the impression of the MLS and just the American teams changing over the past few years?
A: There is definitely improvement in the standard and the MLS is a well-regarded league by everybody in Europe. You’ll see more European teams come and go because we now know that the challenge and competition here (MLS) is now good.
England World Cup Veteran Peter Crouch:
Q: What did you think about the temperature when coming here, did it affect your play?
A: Well, it’s far too hot for me to be honest.
Q: It’s been 15 years since you played here in Dallas with Tottenham Hotspurs in the Dallas Cup, how much do you remember about that?
A: Obviously I had a fantastic time, loved every minute of it; making me feel a little bit saying 15 years ago.
Former Houston Dynamo Defender Geoff Cameron:
Q: Can you tell us what it was like to get your first season under your belt in the English Premier League?
A: It was definitely a big adjustment leaving Houston and obviously going to Stoke [City] with the weather being so different. The league itself as well, you’re playing against the best players on the weekend. So the fast pace and the physical presence of the teams, everything is just a step up.
Q: What do you think would be an area of growth for you after being in the league for one year now?
A: Just confidence, knowing your opponents and knowing that you’re capable to play in this league (English Premier League). You’ll always question yourself and your ability playing against players like Van Persie or Steven Gerard. Those guys you grow up watching on TV over in the states. You might second guess yourself but now you’ve been through the whole process and that experience will help.
FC Dallas Newest Player, 22 year-old Argentinian, Mauro Diaz (Q & A was through a translator):
Q: Is there any significant on why you decided to choose #20 for your jersey? Seeing how Carlos Ruiz and Brek Shea, among other players, have also worn that number in club history.
A: He wants to continue to put the results on the field that other great players have done for FC Dallas. The reason he picked #20 is because it’s what he wore at the U-20 in South America and wants to wear it here as well.
Q: Do you see it as a challenge coming to play for FC Dallas?
A: Every step is a new challenge and I’m looking forward to playing. Part of the challenge starts with the game against Stoke City.
Q: How much do you know about FC Dallas?
A: I followed the team on a number of games, the team wants to play the ball on the ground and that’s the game he likes.
After Mauro Diaz was officially welcomed to the team, the festivities for the night began. STH’s were given maps that showed the locations of their favorite players. At these stations, the STH’s got to take pictures and get autographs from the FC Dallas first team. Zach Loyd seemed to have the longest line throughout the night, and a close second was Kenny Cooper. Before the signings began, I ran into Ugo Ihemelu sitting in a corner watching the Stoke City players practice. He was trying to stay undercover, but with a big name like his in club history that didn’t last for long.
Throughout the night, STH’s were given the opportunity to meet personally with their Sales Representatives and even had the option to renew right then and there. FC Dallas has accommodated STH’s and the fans tremendously this season. Whatever philosophy FC Dallas’s front office is living by, they need to stick with it because it’s working well!