A few months ago I posted my own tribute to Dario Sala where I talked about his legacy at FC Dallas as the guy who stood between the nets for the first five years of Pizza Hut Park. Well back in February, I was informed of Dario's retirement and move into the business world. I reached out to the Sala family and Dario has graciously written this message to the fans. Thank you Dario and Margot.
First of all, I want to thank you for asking me to write this. My only regret about my retirement has been that I did not have the chance to say goodbye and express my gratitude to the people who supported me throughout my FC Dallas career. I’m glad I have the opportunity to do that now.
Throughout my MLS tenure, I told my friends and family that I would end my career in an FC Dallas jersey. It was just something I knew in my heart. After my contract ended I listened to offers from a few teams but, truth be told, nothing felt right. In the six seasons I spent with FCD, Frisco became my home. It’s where Margot and I chose to raise our family and where we have built a very nice life. I didn’t want to give that up.
So, in January, I officially retired from playing soccer and began a career as an agent. The move has been an easy one, as I had been informally recruiting players to come to the league for years. Now I just get paid for it. I’ve already signed several players to teams here and in Latin America, including Mauro Rosales of the Seattle Sounders.
In addition to my new endeavor, I will continue to run my Dario Sala Soccer Clinics for underprivileged children in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I started the clinics because I believed I had a responsibility to help grow the beautiful game in my adopted homeland. Last year, I received a Hometown Hero award for my work on the clinics and it was so special because it reinforced how I think of Dallas: My home. Even though I no longer wear a MLS jersey, I still embrace that responsibility and want to give back to the community that has given me so much.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have represented FC Dallas and its fanbase. It was an honor to have played for the legendary Lamar Hunt and to be part of his dream of bringing soccer to the United States. I’m thankful for great teammates, including the entire 2010 club and friends like Kenny Cooper, Drew Moor, Marcelo Saragosa and Daniel Hernandez, players who are great competitors but even better people. Daniel Granados, Marcus Owens, Josh Watts and the rest of the staff also provided incredible support to me during my FCD career. I saw several coaching changes during my tenure, too, but it allowed me to work with quality coaches like Colin Clarke, Marco Ferruzzi and John Ellinger. I’m also grateful to have played for Schellas Hyndman, a man who – on and off the field – stays true to his values and his vision amid even the harshest criticism. I greatly enjoyed watching him prove his critics wrong last year and I expect more good things from his club this season.
But, most of all, I’m thankful for the fans. During the past six years, you cheered for me through many storms (both literal and figurative) and your encouragement did not go unnoticed. Unlike most soccer leagues, MLS players get the opportunity to know fans on a personal level. FC Dallas fans invited me to their weddings, graduations and tailgates. They sent birthday and Christmas cards. They even threw a baby shower for my wife. Simply put, we became a family. I have played for some of South America’s most storied clubs, but I had never had a personal relationship with the fans like I did in Dallas. It’s what makes Major League Soccer special – and it’s the reason why I decided to become a season ticketholder this year.
So, this isn’t a goodbye note. It’s a message to let FC Dallas fans know that I’ve joined their ranks. My family has purchased our season ticket package and we will be sitting in Section 107, singing all the songs I learned while minding FCD’s goal. Please stop by and say hi.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll make my way across the stadium to bang the Inferno drum. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Gracias por todo, FC Dallas fans. I fought as hard as could for the shirt for the past six years– and it was the honor of a lifetime.
Dallas til I die,