Se Habla Espanol…and Turkish…and German…and Albanian.
That could be the new club motto for Dallas City FC, as the team blossoms into a destination for local, national, and international players that are looking to better their game and be exposed to unlimited possibilities.
“We think this is just the beginning and there is more to come,“ Dallas City FC President Nicolas Ayala said of his NPSL club’s ability to give the world as an opportunity to their players. “We are very happy with the development of the league and we love that ownership has the freedom to create opportunities.”
“This is like a baby to us, we are very excited, but with that excitement there is major responsibility. Now that people are asking questions about our program, we need to show that this can work. When we meet with our players, we explain that we are doing our part in the front office, so now its your turn; you are the ones that are the face of the team on the field and in the community, so be responsible and share in our excitement.”
Dallas City FC was founded in 2013 and plays its games in the South Region’s South Central Conference, but their talented group of players originate from all different backgrounds.
“With the league support, it has been great. We are a very international entity and I think that is showing in the projects that we are working on. We are not looking just locally or nationally, but internationally as well.”
The club has recently celebrated their newest partnership, which will add to the popularity of the club, since Dallas (and the state of Texas) is home to many Mexican transplants and Mexican-Americans.
That agreement is a partnership Chiapas FC, a team in Mexico’s top division, Liga MX.
“Our relationship has various lines of work,” Ayala boasted over the deal. “As a club, we will got to Mexico to play in friendlies, so they can see the kids play, but they will also come stateside for friendlies. We will also have combines, so the team can help aid in development, but also invite some player to official training with them.”
“We are working with the city of Dallas and with the state of Chiapas to promote the touristic aspect of both places.”
Chiapas is located in the southern-most point of Mexico as the picturesque state borders with Guatemala. The land is entrenched in the Central American forest and the state prides itself on the beauty, but also the conservation efforts to retain the natural beauty of the region. Chiapas FC play in Tuxtla, the state’s capital, were founded in 2002 and have found recent success, finding a way into the league’s postseason.
With the two clubs working together, it brings question to why a Liga MX club would partner with a club in the USA’s fourth tier.
“I have a good contact at Chiapas, and early in November they called me to find out what the two clubs could do together. I explained how the NPSL was great at player development and I sold him on our academy’s growth. Very quickly they responded and we presented our ideas to the club and many of the local governors and political elite.”
“Most Mexican clubs that come to the United States and the ones that have passionate followings are usually close to the border. They wanted to create a bond with an American team to have that same bond.”
With their new relationship with the Liga MX club, Dallas City FC see their long-term goals as being a feeder for top teams around the world, and create an environment where kids from the Dallas area are showcased.
“We want Chiapas to be the next step for our players after playing with us,” he added. “We now operate a soccer academy, so we want to develop them and for Chiapas to see them and hopefully sign a contract in Mexico.“
This is a trailblazing idea for FC in the States, as most soccer athletes play for a youth club, then high school, and if they are good enough make it to collegiate soccer. The rest of the world finds talented kids and brings to them into their academy, where they study school and learn everything about the game.
“They go to college and if they are good enough, they are drafted. There a lot of Mexican-American players here, so they can choose which nationality they can play under and both federations are identifying those players and invite them into their camp.”
“First we start with development, we have an under 23 team and under 20 team, which many teams lack here in the States. We give an outlet to players that cannot find that in the region.”
In theory, this is an intriguing way to run a NPSL club, but Dallas City FC have already put to practice this model.
Dallas City FC captain Victor Garza signed a professional contract in Armenia and Gustavo Lozano with Atletico San Luis (Mexico) in the past few months.
“When those players sign, that is what we promised. We are going to offer good training, we are going to offer a competitive league to play in, get them back into shape and back into soccer rhythm, and then we are going to help them land a tryout or go directly to teams.”
The international connection does not stop there.
To give their players the best opportunities, Dallas City FC have gone out and gotten a manager that had opportunities to wear his country’s crest in the world’s biggest competitions.
“He played at Beşiktaş, which is one of the largest clubs in Turkey for five years, but he played with the national team since age 15 all the way to the first team and played in the Champions League and Euro 96,” Nicolas said of Rahim Zafer, Dallas City FC’s manager.
“After his playing career, he obtained his UEFA coaching license and we sold him on the idea of the academy and what we are doing at the club.”
With his influence in the Turkish football community, Rahim has been able to open up conversations with clubs in Turkey and give DCFC a chance to pitch the things that they are doing. Not to mention, their players are getting a world-class coach in training.
“The players see a difference in training with the drills, so they notice how the team gets better throughout the year and even the parents love the sessions and compliment on how unique and professional the sessions are.”
Dallas City FC has been helped by the collective efforts from the club’s front office, including CEO Jacob Tuygun who has pulled these projects together and has more in the cards. With all this said, Dallas City FC have grown to start to see their success, especially on the field. But, like most projects, there are always the small hiccups.
“At the beginning, we had a problem with Rahim’s English, so we had a translator come on board, but now his English is much better. All our kids speak English, but the majority is Americans that come from many international backgrounds.”
Dallas City is clearly bringing some international flair to the NPSL and many great days are ahead for all involved.