Yesterday, Drew Epperley did a great job outlining some possible locations for FC Dallas' future USL Pro team. SMU stadium would be a great, central location. Of course, the front office might prefer to keep things even cheaper and host everything at Toyota Stadium. MoneyGram Park is also a real possibility and probably the most strategic option to keep the sport growing in the DFW area.
But what about the alternative options? What about the kinds of locations that would seem to shatter common sense and mute any forward momentum or excitement for the sport in the area? This is what this article is about.
Texarkana, TX/Texarkana, AR
As one of my friends once told me, welcome to the armpit of Texas. I'm sure Texarkana is a nice enough place to raise a family. You got the best of both worlds really - Arkansas and Texas merged into some sort of hybrid beast. Some residents complain about the lack of entertainment options in their fair city, so maybe a USL Pro team would be the breakthrough they need to go from armpit to... shoulder?
Wichita Falls, TX
This place is just weird. It's like city planners were doing the world a favor by building the interstate to Oklahoma high in the air over their community, so when passing through, you barely have to see it. Such would likely happen to a USL Pro team situated here too.
I think I heard a sports announcer give directions to Lubbock once. He said something like, go west from the DFW area, and when it feels like you are literally in the middle of nowhere, you'll find Lubbock. Having a USL Pro team out in Lubbock would be more akin to punishment than the development of the sport. Just the threat of being shipped out to a USL team there would light a serious fire in any player to improve his form.
If you are willing to go as far as Lubbock, then why not all the way to Midland for some of that sweet, sweet Texas crude money? They do support a minor league baseball team, so maybe a USL Pro team could work this far out in the west Texas desert. Plus, from what I hear, there aren't tons of distractions.
Let's jump north of the border. Sure, Lawton would not really be a viable or sensible place for a USL franchise, but it would open up the potential for a seriously cool (or dreadful) three way Battle for Oklahoma between them, the OKC Energy, and the Tulsa Roughnecks. Plus, a USL Pro team could make use of Ft. Sill's vaunted Polo Fields.
El Paso, TX
El Paso would actually make a sensible option for a USL team, as the area has a solid youth soccer scene. But it's just so damn far away. Almost a 9 hour drive and you haven't even left the state? Insane.
If Texarkana is the right armpit of Texas, does this make Amarillo the left armpit? I don't know. There could be some cool game day promotions with FC Dallas II and Big Texan Steak Ranch, home of the 72 oz steak. Eric Hassli would be a great fit here. (Okay, okay, that's a little mean.)
Bonus Option: The Cotton Bowl
This doesn't make economic sense in any scenario, but it would be awesome and tie FC Dallas back to their history of once playing games in the historic stadium. Can you imagine a USL Pro game smack dab in the middle of the State Fair? Awesome.
What other locations would you select as bad, difficult, or strange options for a future FC Dallas USL Pro team?