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How to be a FC Dallas fan from afar: 2017 Edition

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First kick is right around the corner, and you can enjoy FC Dallas even if you don’t live in Dallas-Ft Worth. Here’s how.

MLS: Playoffs-Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Even though I am some 1300 miles away from Frisco, TX, I’ve begun to catch a whiff of those roasted turkey legs on the eastward breeze. Next week, FC Dallas kicks off CCL play, and Dan Hunt and company are getting the stadium ready for its opening action of 2017. First kick follows soon after. The season is almost upon us.

For some fans, we won’t be there in person, but that won’t stop us from rooting for our beloved Hoops in dingy basements, overcrowded sports bars, opulent living rooms, or austere hotel rooms, hunched over tablet screens or basking in the glow of 55” HDTVs to cheer for Mauro Diaz, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, and crew. Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, we have this option. And because of FC Dallas’ growing reputation, more and more fans from afar join our ranks each and every season.

This is your guide to catch as much as the action as you can, be a part of this growing community, and support your club with rabid, unparalleled devotion.

1. How to Watch FCD Games

FC Dallas just made one of the coolest announcements that has slid under the radar. In addition to broadcasting games on TX24, available to a good chunk of people in DFW area, the front office went ahead and bought the streaming rights for all of its non-nationally televised games. You can watch on FCDallas.com. That widely expands the availability of these games for tons of fans who may not have had a cable package or a TV or whatever.

But there’s bad news. Fans trying to catch the action from out of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area will not be able to use the streams. Granted, there is probably a technical workaround, but this did temper the excitement of this interesting announcement and a pretty bold way to increase the reach of FC Dallas action in the area.

For fans from afar, our option remains the same as previous years.

  • MLS Live is the prime and easiest way to stream FC Dallas games whether you are on the road or at home. For $80/year, you get access to non-nationally televised FC Dallas games and the rest of the MLS schedule. If $80 is too high a price tag, you can save $10 and for $70 get access to only FC Dallas streams. There is a monthly option as well, if you plan to only watch a couple of months or so, otherwise it doesn’t make a ton of financial sense. The streams are all HD quality, and except for the occasional hiccup, pretty reliable. I prefer the $80/option just because you’ll have a chance to catch other games that pique your interest. If there is a downside, without a cable package of your own, nationally televised games are unavailable, but this is also worked around with the use of some handy technical hacks if you are so inclined. Overall, MLS Live is great, and you should get it even if you live in the DFW area.
  • On cable, MLS Direct Kick is an option to get access to most games as well. Information on the package, costs, and features is unfortunately not available yet, but it may be something to keep an eye on of you want to go this route.
  • Unfortunately, MLS Live does not include US Open Cup games or CONCACAF matches. For Open Cups, many teams livestream via Youtube for some games, so there is typically a free option or two. For CONCACAF, some network often steps up and grabs the right to the action. With FC Dallas playing Thursday night, we’re all on pins and needles for viewing options for now.

You can read the full nationally televised TV schedule here.

Watching games is made pretty darn easy with MLS Live and FC Dallas’ new streaming deal. There is no reason not to catch a sizable bunch of games as 2017 gets underway, whether you are at home or on the road. Be grateful for the internet!

2. Participate in the community.

To feel connected to the core of fans supporting FC Dallas, there is nothing like joining in the conversations, reflection, and analysis after every game, every decision, and every up and down through the course of the season. I prefer three primary venues, though there are plenty of others to pick and choose from.

  • Big D Soccer - Yes, this is a shameless self promotion, but what other site can give you, the fan, a chance to share your own thoughts? We have a volunteer staff of writers and editors that love FC Dallas and each bring their unique take to what is happening on and off the field. Whether you want some analysis of why particular strategies worked or didn’t, recaps of the action, hot takes about front office decisions, or pure speculative fiction written with reckless abandon, you’ve come to the right place. Our live game threads are also a fun way to stay connected to the action as we respond in realtime to the joy and frustrations in each game. Join us and share your thoughts!
  • FC Dallas on Facebook - With the hiring of Gina Miller, FC Dallas seems to be more aggressive about doing Facebook Live functions, allowing fans to ask questions of players and coaching staff. For those who feel FC Dallas has done too little in the past to connect with fans directly, this is your chance to find out what players are thinking and pose your own questions. Dan Hunt also has a habit of doing a regular Q&A around midweek.
  • Twitter - The collection of FC Dallas twitter fans and journalists are fun to follow and engage in delicious banter as news breaks. To start, I recommend following FCDallas, BigDSoccer, Bob Sturm, Jason Poon, Drew Epperley, Gina Miller, Daniel Robertson, Carter Baum, and the Dallas Beer Guardians. Once there, you’ll find plenty of other contributors here and in the broader FC Dallas family.

3. Play fantasy soccer.

If you want a reason to engage in Major League Soccer beyond just FC Dallas, fantasy soccer is as good a reason as any to follow other teams and players. I don’t need to spend more words here beyond what fellow contributor, Ben Lyons, shared this past week.

4. Go to the closest game you can.

There is nothing like being at Toyota Stadium. I took an overnight trip to watch FC Dallas play in the Open Cup final, and it was worth every penny. With Minnesota and Atlanta coming into the league this year, fans in those areas now have a chance every other year to see FC Dallas in person. Let me tell you - the team knows and recognizes fans who travel great distances to watch them play or come out and support them in unfamiliar territory. Support FCD anyway you can.

5. Enjoy Texas beer.

Perhaps the best thing to complement a Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon FC Dallas game is a cold Texas beer. Up here in the DC area, my options are limited, but you can’t really go wrong with some Shiner. Find something that works for you and celebrate with good vibes for your beloved team.

Have any other tips? Share them below.