Monday marked a major milestone in Major League Soccer, as they celebrated the 25th anniversary of the very first game between the San Jose Clash and D.C. United.
The trips back to the 90s got our staff thinking about our first time attending a MLS game. Feel free to write down your first game memories in the comments below.
Scott Hiney – April 26, 2007
While I did attend (at the time) a Dallas Burn game at the Cotton Bowl sometime before or after the turn of the millennium (making me four or five), I have no recollection other than being there because my sister’s soccer team had an outing at the game.
I do, however, remember going to see FC Dallas play New York Red Bulls at then-Pizza Hut Park when I was 12. At the time, I was playing soccer and while I had never-before had an interest in the professional game — I was a Mavericks fan and that overwhelmed my entire fandom — I found a pair of tickets for the front row on the East stand for really cheap, so my dad took me.
I knew Kenny Cooper’s name and that was the extent of my FC Dallas knowledge at the time. I remember thinking the stadium was really neat, which I’m sure is partially due to me being just feet from the touchline. The game was much faster-paced than I had realized, and certainly faster than the U-13 version I was playing for the Chargers of the Mesquite Soccer Association.
Oddly-enough, however, it must’ve not made a big enough impression on me because I didn’t attend another game until 2013, when my Dad and I went to the season opener against Colorado, where Jackson scored the game’s only goal. From then-on, though, I was hooked, and a year later I started writing for this very site.
Jeff Loftin - June 12, 2004
Admittedly I do not remember a ton about this game. I was a freshman in college going into my second year but I went with some friends to see the game (traveled from Abilene to Dallas for this one). The Dallas Burn won 3-1 vs New England and I remember loving having soccer to watch that was in my first language. Growing up I always watched Liga MX on TV on Saturdays & Sundays but that was all that we had, other than the occasional Sidekicks game on HSE (throwback for those that know what HSE is). My first professional soccer game that I attended was a Sidekicks game vs the Moterrey La Raza in which Tatu scored in overtime and threw his jersey into the crowd, which was apparently quite common.
Back to the Burn game, I believe this was the season that the team returned to the Cotton Bowl, the location of the game I attended. Kreis scored, that’s about all I remember other than the final score. Fun time but mostly I was just happy to be there. I was always a soccer fan and always watched whatever I could when it was on TV, but this really cemented the Burn as “my team”. Growing up in Western Texas is a unique thing because you’re pretty far from Dallas, Houston, and Austin/San Antonio so you have your pick of teams in a way (other than the Cowboys - always Cowboys), but you also don’t really always have the same emotions and feelings towards teams because of the distance. Seeing that game in person really secured the bond that I had with the team. Though I didn’t go back to another game for close to 8 years, I watched everything I could and read all that I could about the team.
When I finally moved to the DFW in early 2010, I made it a goal of mine to make it to as many games as I could afford and accommodate. Long story short - this game was big for me in so many ways, but mostly it just reaffirmed my love for soccer in the U.S. and for MLS. I knew it wasn’t the best soccer I’d ever seen but damnit, it was ours. For that, it will always be special.
Drew Epperley - Summer 98
I don’t remember the exact date but I do remember the location and the teams. It was D.C. United hosting the then-expansion side Chicago Fire from the glorious RFK Stadium. At that point in my life, I was 13 or so and soccer was pretty much everything for me. I played with a travel team in my home state of West Virginia and during the summer I went to soccer camps (including as far back when Bruce Arena was still at the University of Virginia with guys like John Harkes being camp coaches. I also had Toronto GM Ali Curtis as a camp coach at Duke one summer too but I digress).
I had been following MLS since day one but this was the first time I was able to go to a game in person. I was already hooked but this just drove up the fandom even more. It was hot and rainy that day at RFK and DC ended up winning from what I recall.
My first Dallas game was actually the summer of 2006 when Pizza Hut Park opened up. I came down for a trip to visit family in the area and made sure to grab tickets to the debut of the new stadium. There truly was nothing better than sitting in the East Stand that evening as FC Dallas and the New York MetroStars tied.
Jason Poon - June 23, 2012
I was pretty late to the game. Going to sporting events just was never really a priority until the latter part of this decade. But I do remember I had to travel to Southern California and decided, you know what? It’s time. I want to see David Beckham in the flesh so I contacted some friends, grabbed four tickets and saw Beckham and the Galaxy annihilate the Vancouver Whitecaps.
My favorite part though was this elderly lady sitting right behind me, who was on a first name basis with all the players - shouting every disappointing decision and first touch at them as if they were her own children. First five minutes as definitely an annoying experience, but when she decided to chide Becks for an errant pass, and she groaned loudly that I bet even he could hear it, then this became a fun moment and I just started chuckling (internally) at every comment she made. And for the record, it wasn’t an errant pass. Couldn’t remember who the winger was, but the winger made a wrong read and went inside instead of holding his route to fade towards the touchline. Becks never misplaces a pass. Never. You ran the wrong route. You hear me?
Since then I’ve put every MLS stadium on my bucket list and have gratefully been able to do 13 so far.
Ben Lyon - July 27, 2008
I had also been to a couple of Burn games before this one, but this is really the game that cemented my fandom. I brought around 10 people with me to this game, and all I could find was a brief mention of it here from a little known reporter. This, of course, was one of David Beckham’s trips to Frisco, and I was probably the only one of my group who was legitimately interested in the game; the girls definitely came to see Becks.
It was hotter than hell that day on the East Side (no way!), and one of my friends was totally disinterested. The heat and my desire to be a good host led to the inspiration to a drinking game playing out while surrounded by a sellout crowd in sweltering conditions. The game went like this: one swig of beer for every time the ball cross halfway, two for every shot, three for every goal, and down it when a shot hit the post. No fewer than 3 shots hit the post that day, and FC Dallas went on to earn a convincing 4-0 victory which was Schellas Hyndman’s first win as FCD’s manager in a very open game despite the heat. Although no official tally was kept, I’m pretty certain that my buddy and I each consumed no fewer than 7 beers each in the course of the match which will most likely stand the test of time as my personal best. Everyone left Pizza Hut Park that day sweaty and satisfied.
Mohammad Bushnaq Late 90s Early 00s
Similar to Scott, I know I went to quite a few Dallas Burn games in the Cotton Bowl. I have vivid memories of my cousin being scared of the fireworks after Dallas scored as well as of us screaming, "DALLAS," and the other side of the Cotton Bowl hollering back, "BURN!"
During that timeframe, I went to quite a few games with my uncle by riding the DART from Plano to the games. Those were the good old days. I was sold from a very young age. It was love at first sight.
Nathan Hill - October 30, 2010
My first game was a playoff match at home in the fabled 2010 season against Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinals. Even though the team was playing so well, I was new enough to MLS not to know what to expect, so when I went to my first match and witnessed Eric Avila come off the bench to score the game winner, I was hooked. Eric Avila still has a soft place in my heart for those heroics. It was a nice goal, and ultimately, it opened the door for FC Dallas to crush everything in their path on the way to the MLS Cup.
I ordered my first season tickets for any sport after that game.