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Quick Burns: What are you thankful for from 2017?

It was an up and down year but there are still plenty of things to be thankful for.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a long and crazy road in 2017 for all FC Dallas fans. As we head into Thanksgiving tomorrow we wanted to take some time to discuss as a group what we are most thankful for from the world of soccer and life.

Feel free to comment on what you are most thankful for below.

Jeff Loftin - My Daughter & This Blog

On a personal level, the thing I am most thankful for is my daughter. She was born May 17th and is our first child. That blessing cannot be understated and she has been one of the best things to ever happen to me. On a sporting level, I would say that writing for Big D Soccer has been an amazing blessing. I have been able to meet some wonderful people and get to discuss soccer (and FCD) on a nearly daily basis. Lastly...I am thankful that this dumpster fire of a season is over. I wish the team had seen more success in the second half of the season but there’s a reason that Old Yeller was shot behind the shed, to put him out of his misery and to not risk further injury to the family.

Jason Poon - New Friendships

There are many ways to explain why soccer is the “beautiful game”, for me, it opened opportunities to develop new friendships with different people I never would’ve on my own. The staff here are fun, and scattered across the country, with varying worldviews. It’s been nice to celebrate the good things in life with the crew, like Jeff becoming a father and several guys getting engaged. We all have our differing opinions, from politics to religion and for some reason, we’re oddly passionate about the “fried chicken” debate. But despite that, we all come together over the common view that the ball is round and it’s fun watching 22 grown adults try to kick it.

Etan Cohn - Big D Soccer

It has been an incredible experience to be with Big D Soccer, first as an FC Dallas fan following this blog, and now as a staff member. Even though I’m no professional writer, Big D Soccer has allowed me to write about the team I love, and hopefully, my writing ability is improving a little bit. It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of this group of amazing people, and I am thankful for it.

Besides soccer, I am also thankful for the good health of my wonderful family.

Drew Epperley - Family

For me it is really simple, I’m always most thankful for the family I have. I count family in different ways too. From my blood family to my family friends, to my soccer family and this blog. I’m always happy to see how relationships grow when you treat one another as family and I like to think our site tries to do just that.

I’m thankful for this entire staff of writers that somehow put up with how I operate things. They keep pushing me as I hope I am pushing them. I look forward to even better things in 2018 because of this group.

Scott Hiney - An Engagement

Akin to FC Dallas winning two trophies in one season, I did the unthinkable and found my future wife and became engaged to her. Morgan has been an incredible blessing on my life since I met her in August 2016 and she’s a wonderful reminder of just how thankful I should be for the many ways in which we can find joy in our lives. To not only receive love, but to give it to someone is a beautiful experience and I’m very excited to see myself continually learn more and more about that transaction.

As an added benefit, while openly declaring her distaste with soccer from the moment I met her, she’s now attended a game (the 6-2 rout of Real Salt Lake), watched numerous games with me as I live-tweeted them for our account and understood my great sadness upon the USMNT’s failure to qualify for Russia. I’m incredibly thankful for her attempts to understand and love what I love. That’s a rare quality.

Jared Tilley - FC Dallas

Life is all about the journey and the people you are able to take it with. For all of us at BigD, we are fortunate that we’ve been given the opportunity to travel this part with each other. It might seem like a small thing, but being able to cut up and yell at each other in our daily slack channel really helps get me through the day. In the same vein, conversing with the people in the comments section and Twitter is also a great distraction from my boring work life. None of this would be possible if not for FC Dallas.

I know the club gets a lot of stick for not spending money or not doing enough for the fans, but at the end of the day, we know that the Hunts and everyone below them are committed to the club. We don’t have to worry about them moving our franchise to another city because of our lack of attendance. I’m sure there are other markets out there that would be more financially successful than here, but yet they have stayed committed to DFW. That says a lot. In the end, nothing we do would be possible without them. So in a lot of ways, I am thankful for that.

Nathan Hill - Sabbath

Most people may not know that, despite my passionate, sarcastic, and ill-informed writing, I am actually a pastor in real life, not an award-winning soccer blogger. It’s hard work - especially in our culture which is in the midst of change and division that in some ways is business as usual and also unprecedented. Our culture, because of social media and the 24 hours news cycle, is now having uncomfortable and difficult (and hopefully necessary) conversations about racism, sexual abuse, gun violence, power, and democracy. This, of course, is not just a national thing - it extends into people’s lives, causing anxiety, pain, anger, and despair. I see this lived out in my congregation, a diverse people from across racial, ethnic, political, and socio-economic lines. We have struggled at times to figure out how to work for hope and compassion when we are being pitted against each other.

Soccer for me is kind of a sabbath, a biblical word for a day of rest, a kind of invitation for all of us to take some time off. Certainly, those conversations we are having nationally and globally intersect even the way we participate in and consume sports, but it is simply fun to take your mind off things for 90 minutes as a bunch of people from across the globe kick a round ball around the field and try to do dazzling things together. It’s a definite Sabbath kind of thing for me to follow FC Dallas. It’s also fun to coach my son’s youth league and encourage some youngsters to find the joy that comes from playing the beautiful game. And when everything else is about polarization, letting 1st and 2nd graders just run around on the field, crack jokes, and work their tails off for a goal reminds me that there is still hope and fun in this world.

So basically, I give thanks for Sabbath - for a good rest. I hope you give yourself permission to rest amidst the anxiety and Russia investigations and violence and uncertainty that our world lays at our feet. Take those moments and things, whether they are soccer, a good movie or book, taking your kids to the playground, or a cold glass of beer, and enjoy them. We all deserve a break. I’ve realized more than ever that we need those moments if we are to find a way through together.

Jack Hazzard - The Soccer Community

It has been stated numerous times before but missing out on the 2018 World Cup was heartbreaking for me. The reality of the situation still feels like a never-ending nightmare that will not cease to exist until the end of the summer tournament. This World Cup was going to be a bit more special for me. The 2018 tournament was set to be my first World Cup where I would be of legal drinking age. For a long time, I imagined waking up early to head to local pubs and immersing myself in a different form of the American soccer culture. Sadly, I can still head to the pub, but I won’t be able to cheer for my country.

Nevertheless, apart from all of the disappointment, I feel as if some good came out of this situation. The United States soccer community became loud and defiant about the current state of U.S. soccer since the disaster. People finally came to see the issues surrounding the game: women’s pay, lack of support for the NASL, pay-to-play. These issues were just a few but missing out on the World Cup got people talking. New people stood up to run for the USSF’s president spot and countless mainstream reporters stopped taking ‘no’ for an answer.

All in all, what I’m thankful for is that out of all this bad, maybe we can find some good.

Cody Gammond - The good and Bad

I am thankful that FC Dallas, despite having a bad year, still seems to have the tools on paper to fix things. This roster needs some fixing, but with a few tweaks here and there, this team could easily be a winner again next year. Many teams have it way worse (Columbus).

I am also thankful for the fact that the worst thing that has happened to me all year has been Dallas and the USMNT being terrible. Seriously, it's a pretty good year when the only real complaint you have is that your soccer teams are bad.

Jack Rouse- Writing For You All

Like a few of the other newcomers and old heads have said; writing for Big D Soccer is an absolute blast. The staff is entertaining and insightful, but I’m most thankful for the opportunities it has provided me to become closer to the club. Over the Summer being a writer for Big D allowed me to interview players and attend practices. As someone who was a pretty standard fan this time last year, being able to do these things has forever connected me to the club. Getting to talk to Roland Lamah about playing alongside Eden Hazard or getting to see Maxi Urruti pull pranks at practice really gave me a feel for what FC Dallas is about and it made every goal, win, and tackle this season so much sweeter.

Ben Lyon - MLS

Obviously, I’m a lot more grateful that I ended up here with the Big D gang which gives me a perpetually caring support group and a platform to try and mimic Swift even in an era where satire is effectively dead. Then there’s the family, all of whom managed not to die this year despite a very close call. I couldn’t be more grateful about that.

The fact is though that none of us our here (in blog nirvana) without MLS- the sperm donor who at least halfway brought us into being despite being a frequent source of disappointment. Yeah, the state media is figuratively the worst thing to ever happen to journalism. Shilling hard for a National Team over-represented by MLS players (and coaches- sad trombone) certainly worked out in predictably poor fashion, and this whole thing with the Crew leaves me feeling dirtier than the opossum fishing the turkey offal out of the dumpster.

Despite all of that, we’re grateful to have a team (and a league) to root for in this country. Startups are hard and dirty work, and it looks like this thing may stick. Had we bombed out of a World Cup in previous years, there would be serious concerns about the league’s viability, but MLS has seen its fortunes mature to the point that won’t be an issue anymore. I’m very happy I’ll be able to enjoy the league and the beautiful game minus the Damoclean sword of solvency hanging over its head. Props to HSG for the assist helping us get here.

Mohammad Bushnaq - New Beginnings

Life-changing events are that thrilling mix of terrifying and exciting. In the last six months, I have had the blessing and opportunity to get engaged to the most wonderful lady in the world and to obtain a graduate degree from one of the best healthcare administration programs in the nation. I am really excited to live a long life of happiness with my partner, but the process is not easy and the expectations are at an all-time high. The same goes with my career. A post-graduate fellowship will ultimately culminate in a very important post-fellowship job. No pressure, young man, but you need to be able to support a household in a few months after all. Still, I am thankful that these are my problems as they could be so much worse.

Speaking of new beginnings, from a soccer perspective, both the USMNT and FC Dallas have a chance for some new beginnings after horrid years. The US Soccer program has the opportunity to reboot and reassess leadership, strengths, and weaknesses of a program we have all grown to love. FC Dallas has the chance to return back to its winning ways after a very disappointing year. Sports help keep me sane and you all provide me with an outlet for escape despite my not contributing very often. I am thankful for your friendships, my new professional and personal beginnings, and a chance to continue to succeed and prosper. I am thankful that 2017 has allowed us the chance to reexamine and recharge as a national program and local football club. And I hope to convert my future wife into a soccer supporter too, Scott.

All in all here’s to new beginnings.

Jose A. Carmona - Everything

I’m thankful for the well being of my friends and family. I’m thankful for the brotherhood that all of us here at Big D Soccer share. Many of the staff here, have opened my eyes to opinions and worldviews, big and small, that excites me to see what the next day will bring.

I’ve always been a glass is half full kind of person, and always will be. I’m thankful to Big D Soccer, for allowing me to immerse myself in the soccer culture of FC Dallas, MLS, and the world in general. We all know that soccer does not get the coverage in the United States, and locally, that many other sports get. So I’m thankful to Big D Soccer for allowing me to help in making up for some of that lack of coverage.

I’m thankful for FC Dallas, and the roller coaster ride that 2017 turned out to be. With the highest of highs participating in the CCL, the undefeated surge to start the season, and the eventual heartbreaking plummet at the end. While everyone has viewed this season as a failure, I prefer to view 2017 as a transition that nobody saw coming. FC Dallas disappeared into a cocoon sometime in July, and I’m waiting with excitement, to see what kind of metamorphosis the team will undertake in 2018.

FC Dallas is not the only ones transitioning before our very eyes. Soccer in North America is becoming something different, even as I type. Leagues are growing (USL, MLS), Leagues are changing (NASL), Leagues are forming (NISA, USL3, Canadian SL). Teams are sprouting everywhere, small, and big. The soccer landscape is evolving and growing, at a rate that none of us could have imagined possible just a couple of years ago. The USMNT is also transitioning, from the failure of the World Cup Qualification to the sudden explosion of American youth playing, and excelling abroad. So I am thankful for helping discuss, or cover, all of it with the Big D Soccer staff and all the FC Dallas fans.