The Comets F.C. Academy soccer club, based out of Midlothian, had the opportunity of a lifetime when the girls not only were invited to attend the first playoff game for F.C. Dallas last week, but also escorted the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer club onto the field for the pre-game ceremony.
The playoff game, which Dallas won by a final of 2-1, was played at the home of the club, Toyota Stadium in Frisco.
The girls got to watch the teams warm up before the match, as well as high-five their favorite players as F.C. Dallas and the Whitecaps took the field.
The F.C. Comets became a team about a year and a half ago and were founded by head coach Jeremy Barnett. The team's official home field is at MoneyGram Park in north Dallas between Irving and Farmers Branch. Barnett said he isn't sure exactly how or why his team was chosen, but the honor of being invited to escort a MLS team onto the pitch before a match is a gift in itself.
“It's a reward for all the work that not only the girls put in, but also for the parents,” Barnett said. “They have to drive more than anybody else in the Metroplex to take their daughters to play and they have always been there to support the girls and me, which means a lot.”
Kristi Robinson, who is a parent of one of the young athletes on the Comets team, said the girls were enthused to meet some of their idols and heroes, including the team's mascot, Tex Hooper.
“This is not something that everyone gets to do,” said Robinson. “It was very special and a unique experience. I know many of our dads on the team and the other soccer-oriented parents were ecstatic that their daughters got to participate in this event.”
Robinson said that meeting Tex Hooper was the highlight for some of the young athletes, who are between 7 and 8 years old, on the Comets.
“The second graders, I think that might have been their favorite part,” Robinson said about the team's encounter with the 6-foot tall, lovable bull, who wears the number 96 (to acknowledge the year the team was founded). The team became a charter member club of Major League Soccer in 1996, but went by the name Dallas Burn until the conclusion of the 2004 season, at which point the team was rebranded with a new uniforms, logo and name. In 1997, the club's second year, the team won their first championship, the U.S. Open Cup title after claiming a 5-3 victory over D.C. United.
As for the Comets, who are in their second season of being together, Barnett said he believes his team will be around for quite a while.
“This is probably one of those very special teams that legitimately has a chance to stay together for a long time,” Barnett said. “I have coached teams in the past and this group of parents are very special, supportive and loving.”