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The evolution of Dan Hunt and FC Dallas

The FC Dallas president has shown to be more open than he or his brother Clark have ever been in the past.

The offseason is in full swing and in the case of FC Dallas, it is probably winding down. The roster is already almost full, missing maybe one or two players at the most to fill it out. The team hasn’t had much turnover aside from role players and a couple key replacements. With the limited but key changes to the roster, the team looks again, primed to make another charge for some silverware. We know all of this and are all very excited about the 2017. One of the bigger stories not discussed, is the change with Hunt’s and more importantly, Dan Hunt.

In a city where one of the franchise owners has lead one of the most profitable teams in the world into mediocrity, the Hunt’s have been vilified as one of the worst ownership groups in town. The FC Dallas fan base has been going to social media for years to show their displeasure for the way the Hunt’s family has run the club. To be fair, a lot of the fans frustrations were warranted. Fans want a winning product and when that doesn’t happen, people need to be held accountable.

It is true that the Dan and Clark Hunt do things their own way. Instead of spending large sums of money on transfers, they would rather develop their own talent. At their core, they are savvy businessmen and fans usually despise that. It’s no secret that fanbases don’t care about the financial cost, they want wins and championships. Add on top of that the Hunt’s tendency to play everything ‘close to the chest,’ and you have fans who feel out of the loop, which leads to more frustrations.

Yet, something has happened over the last 12-18 months. Dan and Clark have changed the way they do business. They have done a nice job of spending money, while also not wasting it. They have wisely put their trust in people like Fernando Clavijo and Oscar Pareja to identify and develop quality talent. We have seen players like Mauro Diaz, Carlos Gruezo, Kellyn Acosta, Michael Barrios and Walker Zimmerman come into the squad and help lead this team to two trophies. Personal grievances aside, winning should be enough to end any frustration with ownership groups. It should allow them a little bit of breathing room and a chance for the fan base to take a step back and reassess the situation.

On top of a successful season, it has seemed like Dan has made a conscious effort to connect with the fanbase again. Sure, a lot of people may consider it as fabricated, but at the end of the day, he doesn’t owe us anything. In September, Dan ran a Twitter poll questioning fans what they want next year in the stadium for a new concession offer. He is hearing the concerns and complaints from fans and trying to address them, even if it is one at a time. When was the last time the other sport franchises in this city have asked their fanbase about anything?

Finally, for the first time (at least for as long as we can remember), Dan lead on last week and more or less confirmed the rumors we were all hearing about the new striker He went against his normal way of doing things and hinted at a new signing. The par for course in the past is to stay silent on all transfers until all the paperwork is in, visas granted and the players are at the signing table. This change in habit shows exactly that, a change. It shows an excitement and a connection to the fanbase; all things that seemed to be missing a couple years back.

Also, the DP striker that was promised about looks like he’s on his way. Christian Colman, a 22-year old Paraguayan striker who reportedly costs $2 million in a transfer fee, meaning that all of the Fabian Castillo money is all but spent. Sure, it might have been taken a little longer than expected to get, but they did live up to their promise.

This new side of Dan has been refreshing and exciting. It shows that he cares about this club as much as we do. Of course, he is a businessman and has to run a business first, but that doesn’t mean that’s his only intention. There can be a healthy balance and it seems like Dan and Clark have found it. Are they perfect, no? But they are in charge of one of the youngest, most exciting teams in MLS. Also, they are over one of the best academies in the nation.

Most importantly, they have a winning product on the field and aren’t complacent with their results. Dan told last week that the team will be operating with a “20-25 percent increase in our spending this year.”

Isn’t this what every fan base wants? We want a taste of success followed up with a reloading of the roster to go after it again. This team is looking at an exciting next couple of years and a lot of it is because of the Hunts.

We don’t have to agree with everything they do, but at the end of the day, they have earned our trust. They have shown an ability to spend money on quality players, become more transparent, as well as have engaged the fanbase with changes to the stadium. They have met all the demands of the fanbase, minus craft beer, and deserve more slack. I’m not asking for everyone to fall in line and not be critical when the time calls for it. What I am asking is for people to be open minded and realize that people can change.

For me, the Hunt’s deserve leeway and I’m willing to give it to them.