With Lamar Hunt leading the way, Dallas played a significant role in the creation of America’s initial pro soccer league, the NASL. In the initial year, foreign clubs doubled as American teams in the league, thus Scotland’s Dundee United masqueraded as the Dallas Tornado. The Tornado went on to win the championship in 1971, but the Tornado’s greatest legacy may have come as the players from those teams, mainly from Europe and South America, remained in Dallas and started youth clubs and programs.
Major League Soccer arrived in Dallas in 1996 when the Dallas Burn became one of 10 charter members of the MLS. The team made it through the league’s rough patches and won the U.S. Open Cup in 1997, its first major trophy. In 2005, the team rebranded to FC Dallas and moved north to Frisco into what was just the third major soccer-specific stadium constructed in the country. As FC Dallas, the team won the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the 2016 MLS Supporters Shield. The stadium added the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2018.
Dallas Soccer Notables
Tribute to Uncle Lamar
No other professional sports team in Dallas has the pioneering legacy of FC Dallas and its patriarch, Lamar Hunt. The story of FC Dallas is tied to Dallas’ soccer history, which began in 1966 when Hunt attended a World Cup match in England and was inspired to bring professional soccer to the U.S.
Dallas soccer fans still recognize one of the most influential men in the history of American sports as, prior to every MLS match at FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium, a “scarfing” takes place, during which a local or national celebrity, or someone otherwise worth honoring, climbs a ladder and gently wraps a traditional soccer supporter’s scarf around a statue of Lamar Hunt.
Since his passing in 2006, players of FC Dallas have worn a patch with the initials LH to honor the legacy of Lamar Hunt.