Pizza Hut Park
On April 2, 2003, Major League Soccer and the Dallas-based Hunt Sports Group (HSG) announced that the Frisco Independent School District, the City of Frisco, and Collin County had unanimously voted to join HSG in a historic partnership, agreeing to build a $65 million soccer-specific stadium and soccer complex in Frisco. This innovative facility features a 21,193-seat stadium, which will be home for FC Dallas of Major League Soccer and 17 tournament-grade fields for youth and adult soccer, as well as high school sports and other events.
“The vision and innovation of the people of Frisco and Collin County is applauded by soccer fans across the United States,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “The creation of this public-private partnership represents a watershed moment for the sport in this country. MLS and FC Dallas are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the forward-thinking leaders of this community, providing yet another viable blueprint for professional soccers continued success in the U.S.”
The multi-purpose stadium, which will also be used for major concerts, high school football, and other community events, will be located on approximately 117 acres just north of the new Frisco Town Square, a mixed-use development currently under construction and the future home of commercial, residential, retail and public buildings, including the new Frisco City Hall. The 17 adjacent fields will be utilized for a myriad of purposes and events on a year-round basis, including but not limited to soccer camps, academies, league play, corporate functions, high school sports, FC Dallas training, as well as local, regional, national and international soccer tournaments.
Additionally, Pizza Hut Park will be home for a variety of tenants, including Baylor Health Care System, which will build a permanent 6,500 square foot rehabilitation center and will be connected to the northwest side of the stadium. Other tenants include the regional headquarters for the North Texas State Soccer Association, the national headquarters for US Youth Soccer, and the front office staff for Pizza Hut Park and FC Dallas. It is believed that this unique facility is the first venue of its type ever created a stadium and soccer park of such size coupled together into one facility. “The benefits of this development will reverberate throughout the world,” said Garber. “North Texas is a bastion for youth soccer, and this Frisco project provides international exposure for soccer at all levels in the United States.”
The History of Soccer in Dallas
Dallas/Fort Worth has become a soccer hotbed in the United States producing world class teams, hosting major soccer events, and developing the largest soccer organization in the country. From the Dallas Tornados to present day FC Dallas, soccer has been a sport deeply embedded in the DFW community.
DALLAS TORNADOS – After the 1966 World Cup Final, two rival professional soccer leagues were formed in the United States. After one year, they combined to form the North American Soccer League which lasted from 1967/68 until 1984. The Dallas Tornados were part of the NASL from 1967-1981 winning the league championship in 1971 over the Atlanta Chiefs 2 games to 1, beginning a rich history of professional soccer in Dallas.
DALLAS SIDEKICKS – Founded in 1984, the Dallas Sidekicks, were one of the original Major Indoor Soccer League franchises and one of the longest running soccer franchises in US Soccer history until operations were recently suspended following the 2004 season. The team enjoyed many successful years of operation, claiming several division titles and championships including the MISL title in 1986-87, the CISL crown in 1993, the Premier Soccer Alliance championship in 1998, and the WISL title in 2001. The teams most famous player, and most recent head coach, Tatu, was known not only for his outstanding play, but also for throwing his shirt into the stands after every goal. Tatu remains a soccer icon in the DFW area.
WORLD CUP IN DALLAS – In 1994, the United States played host to the World Cup, the biggest event ever in American soccer history. The games were played in seven different venues across the United States, including the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. A total of 6 games were played at the Cotton Bowl, including what many consider the most exciting match of the 94 World Cup, the quarterfinal between Brazil and Holland, won by eventual champions Brazil 3-2.
DALLAS BURN/FC DALLAS – Sparked by a successful World Cup, Major League Soccer was formed and on June 6, 1995, the Dallas Burn became a charter member. Ten short months later, adorning the colors red, black and green, 27,779 fans welcomed top level soccer in the United States to the Cotton Bowl in the teams first-ever match. The Burn defeated San Jose in a 1-0 shootout in front of the home crowd. In nine years as members of MLS, the Burn have been one of the most consistent teams in the league qualifying for the playoffs in the first seven years of the teams existence. Additionally, the team added a major piece of hardware to the trophy case in 1997 by capturing the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title. In conjunction with the clubs move to the new Pizza Hut Park in 2005, the Dallas Burn has become FC Dallas, beginning a new tradition of excellence with stars such as Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz, and Richard Mulrooney.