This is the part of sports that I hate the most. More than losing matches or dropping points. More than getting knocked out of a tournament via penalties. Saying ‘goodbye’ to certain players is a lot harder on the heart than results on the field.
Chris Seitz probably holds a different place in every FC Dallas’ heart. From being the longest serving player up until this off-season, to his 2012 MLS Humanitarian Award winning moment where he risked his career to save another person’s life. Knowing Seitz will no longer guard an FC Dallas goal stings. In fact, it stung the most and caught me by surprise.
Seitz has served this club in a go-between state, often fluctuating between starter and backup, and did so without complaint. Seitz bided his time while Kevin Hartman had his go during Seitz’ early parts of his FCD career, and then had his chance and split the time in 2014 with Raul Fernandez. In 2015, the rise of Jesse Gonzalez regulated Seitz back to the backup role but then reclaimed the starting spot again in 2016 and led the club to its historic double. We also saw Seitz pull a personal best of 10 clean sheets in 2016 too.
2017 was different as Gonzalez started recapturing his 2015 form and never relented his starting role again. But as the consummate professional, Seitz did not complain. Rather, he stood ready to defend the Dallas goal whenever necessary, and pushed and cheered Jesse on as a mentor.
FC Dallas was blessed to have two starting quality keepers on the roster for the better part of this decade. But it was the city and the people who really, truly got the most shining quality of Chris Seitz: his humanity.
On November 27, 2017 Seitz penned a farewell message to the FCD faithful:
Thank you FCD family for a hell of a 7 years. On to our next adventure! pic.twitter.com/DVlR8Ejl8l— Chris Seitz (@Seitzy1) November 28, 2017
Seitz has treated all people with dignity and grace. From fans, to teammates, from coaches to opponents (maybe not Dynamo players), they all got the same treatment of love and kindness.
This roster change hit me the hardest because of one of my memories with Seitz. It was 2016, I had flown to LA to visit a friend and it just so happened that, that was the final match that was going to decide whether Dallas would raise the Supporter’s Shield or not. I worked my way to the press box and found my way to the guest locker room after the game.
I was nervous all day. Not because that the Shield was on the line, but because it was my first time flying solo and at completely foreign stadium and environment. I had never covered the team by myself, let alone at a different stadium.
Seitz emerged out of the locker room and I worked up the courage to ask if he had a moment. As if that didn’t wreck me, Carter Baum decided to throw the camera on us and put this on video. I had never interviewed a player before, and with the camera rolling, I froze.
Seitz, like a good teammate, could sense my nerves and threw me a lifeline and started the conversation for me. Rather than scoffing at me for being unprofessional or laughing at me, he did what good people do: we help one another and pull each up when we can.
After getting unstuck, I managed to get out a few more questions and end the interview properly. I doubt Seitz remembers that moment, but I walked away extremely grateful for our interaction and it gave me the confidence to walk into the locker room and find a few more players to interview.
To borrow from our saying in sports, that a good player makes his teammates better, I’d say, a great human makes the people around him and the community better.
So thank you Seitzy, for not just making FC Dallas a better club, but for making the community of Dallas that much better because of you. Best of luck and I’ll certainly be cheering for you wherever you land.