The Dallas Football Elite will Take Your FC Dallas Experience To The Next Level
The Dallas Football Elite will Take Your FC Dallas Experience To The Next Level
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Scott Ellis: Welcome to the Frisco Podcast, I’m your host Scott Ellis, and this week I am joined by Sean Dorwaldt of the Dallas Football Elite. If you’re a soccer fan, especially if you’re an FC Dallas fan, you’re going to want to hang out for this one and learn a little more.Sean Dorwaldt: Thank you, Scott, for having me here, man, I really appreciate it and given the chance for us to talk a little bit about our group and also talk about FC Dallas and what we’re excited for for this season.Scott Ellis: Well thank you for coming on, Sean. This is fun because you guys have a group that is, I can’t really characterize it right, so why don’t you explain what you guys do? But you’re a fan group really for the FC Dallas, right?Sean Dorwaldt: Yeah, I guess fan group is definitely an easy way to say it. You know, soccer is different, it’s the one sport in the world to where people kind of gather together in groups and they really come out and they really support the team as little organizations kind of within the team itself. You know, kind of if you go to a Dallas Cowboys game and stuff like that, don’t get me wrong, the fans are amazing, I’m a huge Cowboys fan myself, but it’s more just kind of a mass coming out. With soccer you kind of like gravitate towards a group that is more like minded like yourself.Here in Dallas we’re lucky enough that, you know, we have four supporter groups that represent FC Dallas and all of them are the same in the sense that we support the club, but are different in the facts that, you know, it’s a different type of way of supporting the club. No matter who you are, there’s a place for you.Scott Ellis: It sounds like a good year for people to be getting interested in a group like yours.Sean Dorwaldt: Definitely.Scott Ellis: Because they just kicked off the home opener on the 6th and one, and you were telling me before we started recording that FC Dallas is looking pretty fierce this year.Sean Dorwaldt: They’re looking really good, they are very dangerous. We’ve got a young team that is fast, our attack is incredibly exciting to watch. If you’re brand new to the game and you’re one of those kind of guys that doesn’t want to see a nil-nil match, you want to see us score goals, this is definitely the year to come out and watch it because we’re going to be scoring goals this year.Scott Ellis: Okay, well that’s good for me to know.Sean Dorwaldt: Yeah.Scott Ellis: Tell me a little a bit about what the DFE does as a support group for the FC Dallas. What are the kinds of things that you guys do?Sean Dorwaldt: Well the DFE I mean it’s a family is what it is. You know, we’ve been around since 2010, you know, we started off honestly as just a group of guys. My best friend Chris Langford and another guy named John Kirchhoff, really all we wanted to do is just tailgate. You know, we were fans of the team, but there was nothing really too serious about it, it was just kind of like, “How do we get involved?” But as the group started to, you know, gain more momentum and gain more members, we partnered with the club and the club really kind of helped us really see kind of the direction we could take as becoming an official supporters group, which we became an official supporters group in 2011.But what our ultimate goal is is really is to bring people in from all walks of life who just love sports, love to have a good time, love to socialize and really just want to support the club. Outside of that, you know, we are involved in community service, we did a thing for charity with the children’s hospital as far as bringing toys to them and doing stuff like that. This year, you know, we’re going to be partnering with FC Dallas for 5K. Phil Crone he’s our current president right now, he’s really hitting that up and has got some great things planned for that. I know it sounds silly but we do a beer pong tournament, but we raise money for charity out of that.Scott Ellis: Beer pong is serious business.Sean Dorwaldt: It is.Scott Ellis: That is no joke.Sean Dorwaldt: It is. It’s extremely serious business and it’s a lot of fun and you’d be surprised how many people will gravitate towards that, that allows us to raise money for charity. This year, you know, really our main focus is raising money for the FC Dallas Foundation. A year ago we had a member pass away, his name was Sam Williams, his family has gotten really involved with the club and has gotten involved with the FC Dallas Foundation. We just want to continue to raise money to really donate towards that aspect of things.Scott Ellis: This has evolved from a bunch of guys tailgating, which is not hard to picture, we’ve probably been there, into something a bit more formal. I mean you guys are pretty involved and you’re doing a lot of things, that’s awesome.Sean Dorwaldt: We are. We are. We’re also part of the Independent Supporters Council, which is a union of supporter groups throughout the entire United States, and Canada. I’m sorry, Canada, I always forget about you guys. The Independent Supporters Council meets once a year, different locations where all the supporter groups from all the different MLS clubs, and even clubs that are not even in MLS get together. I mean they lay out the bylaws and the structure of how we are all going to run within the soccer world of North America.Scott Ellis: Are most groups finding that to be pretty amicable? Or are people wanting to sort of break off and do their own thing more? Or is there, what are the benefits I guess of being a part of a bigger organization like that?Sean Dorwaldt: I think the more that you’re a part of that, the more you have a voice. Sometimes, as you say, you know, when you’re just a tailgate group and you’re just a group of people doing your own thing, you’re going to kind of fall under the way that the club wants you to support. However when you join an organization like the Independent Supporters Council and you’re part of the union, or you’re working with other supporter groups like in FC Dallas, you know, we work with the Beer Guardians, Lone Star Region, El Matador, and we’re all on the same page. We have a voice that really tells the club that, “Hey, we’re working with you guys but this is how we want to support.”Scott Ellis: We’ve just heard a lot about what you guys do outside of that, which I had no idea, it’s fantastic. When I go to a game, if I’m with the DFE, what is that experience like at the game itself?Sean Dorwaldt: For a brand new fan we definitely want you to be open minded. It’s going to be completely different than anything that you’ve ever experienced in the sporting world. We don’t sit down, we stand. Strongly, strongly encouraged to stand. Lots of chanting, lots of singing, our ultimate goal is to create a hostile environment for the opposing team that comes there. The Beer Garden is the section next to us, we’re in section 101. We kind of are right there where the away club is warming up, so as they’re warming up, we’re definitely going to tell them, you know, welcome to Dallas in a very friendly way, not so friendly, but we’re definitely letting them know we’re there.One of the best stories I ever had is Jay DeMerit, he’s an ex-US national team player, played for Watford over in EPL and came over here and finished his career off with Vancouver. When Jay would come to town he said, you know, “A lot of people don’t realize this, I hate coming and playing in Dallas. You all as fans are so close to us when we’re warming up we hear everything you say and it literally is the most hostile stadium in the entire MLS to plan.”Scott Ellis: At Frisco that’s something to be proud of.Sean Dorwaldt: It really is something to be proud of because, you know, a lot of people look at Seattle and Portland and they’re like, “Oh, there’s twenty thousand people standing and singing.” But as far as the away club coming in and actually getting that close to the fans and hearing what we have to say about “Welcome to Dallas”, it definitely I believe creates home field advantage for us.Scott Ellis: Well I like to hear that. Now I assume however that it is still generally good sportsmanship.Sean Dorwaldt: Totally. I mean MLS has got a code of conduct, don’t cross the line, and even our Independent Supporters Council has a code of conduct, don’t cross the line. There’s things that we police ourselves on and we have to keep our members in check on. We’re open to everybody, all walks of life that come in, and, so, at no time are we ever wanting to offend anybody specifically.Scott Ellis: Okay, so this isn’t like going to a Raiders football game where you might get pummeled if you’re on the opposing side?Sean Dorwaldt: No, this is not like that. No. I think that’s the great thing about MLS as opposed to, you know, Europe sometimes, because the term hooligans gets thrown out there a lot. There’s nothing outside of us just wanting to have a good time and support our club and give the opposing team a hard time. I mean there’s nothing about seeking out other fans or anything like that.Scott Ellis: Good. We’re a little bit more well behaved here.Sean Dorwaldt: We try, we try.Scott Ellis: If somebody wants to get involved with the DFE, first of all I’m picturing a bunch of guys having a good time, hanging out. Are there women part of the [crosstalk 00:07:15].Sean Dorwaldt: Of course. That actually is a big push as we do want more women in the group. Lots of the members that join up are typically male that come out. A lot of them bring their wives, their wives come kind of being dragged along, but then the moment they get there they’re like, “Oh, hey. This is actually a good time.” It really is, it’s that social thing. Even if you’re brand new to Dallas or you’ve never been here before and you don’t even like soccer, I would encourage you to come out and try this with us because you’re going to meet people, you’re going to get involved in things outside of the DFE with DFE members.We have members that have their own sports teams that are going on, members that are involved in other clubs, members that just have different hobbies that they can drag you out to on the weekends and do stuff. That’s kind of our whole MO is that we’re here to support the club, but when you join us you really do become part of the family. I even have holidays now where I have members over, you know, for holidays and stuff like that. Constant cookouts and barbecues and different things like that.Scott Ellis: Well it does sound like fun, but it sounds like a great way to get into the spirit when you’re at a game. When you’ve got that many people around you I’m sure it’s a good time. If people want to get involved how do they find out more about you guys? Where do they go? Can they get tickets to sit with you?Sean Dorwaldt: Yes. In fact this year the tickets to sit with us is on our website. The website is thedfe.com.Scott Ellis: Okay.Sean Dorwaldt: You just go there and just click on purchase tickets, we will always have the ticket allocation. Our section is section 101, we are right next to The Beer Garden, the only difference between us and The Beer Garden is they’re twenty-one and up and we’re not. If you got kids and you want to bring your kids out, we definitely put the disclaimer on there, but we have kids in our section and lots of families come and join our section. We do have smoke machines in our section, one of our things that we like to joke about is that we will smoke you out.That’s really just saying that we’re trying to create an atmosphere for the club. Club really likes it when the smoke’s going off, and so we try to maintain with that. We have flags, we got one kid in our section, loves us to death, his family joined the group and became season ticket holders all because of him. He just loves to sit in our section and wave flags, and we completely embrace him for it.Scott Ellis: Wow, that’s awesome. All right, so if you are a soccer fan, if you are an FC Dallas fan, go check them out, thedfe.com. We’ll link that up in the show notes as well, so you can always just hit the post that will go along with this podcast, and we’ll link up a few other things that we’ve talked about here as well. How many people are in the group?Sean Dorwaldt: The group fluctuates in numbers. We average around a hundred and twenty members. We currently have about sixty-five season ticket holders. We really do like if you would become a season ticket holder but we also know that if you’re brand new we don’t expect you to become a season ticket holder your first year. The key with being a season ticket holder is that it actually is the cheaper way to go about being a part of the group.The ultimate thing is joining the group is just showing up, I mean you come out there, come say “hi” to me, come say “hi” to Phil our president, come say “hi” to Theo, he’s another one of our top execs members. We will bring you in and introduce you to everybody, and every week we expect you to be out there, but not expecting as in we’re forcing you to be out there, we’re expecting you that we’re happy that you’re out there.Scott Ellis: Right, right. Well it sounds like fun. I’m going to admit something I probably shouldn’t on the podcast, but I have yet to actually attend an FC Dallas game. My first one I think it’s going to have to be to come out and sit with you guys and soak it all up, because it sounds like a lot of fun and I have a feeling that one game with you guys and you’ll just suck the new right out of anybody that hasn’t been before.Sean Dorwaldt: We don’t really ease you in very well, so I will say that, but I think that’s also a good thing. You’re not going to just be sitting there and just watching the team kick the ball back and forth, you’re going to be literally in the game with us as we’re going and every time a play is made, every time a goal is scored, you’re going to feel it with us in the section.Scott Ellis: Well I like it, and I look forward to coming out to a game this year for sure.Sean Dorwaldt: Yes, we’d love to have you out.Scott Ellis: Want to give a quick shout out to Jennifer at Stan’s Main Street who introduced us. I hadn’t even heard about you guys before, and she said, “Hey, you guys need to sync up because this is a fun group.”Sean Dorwaldt: Definitely.Scott Ellis: Thank you, Jennifer, for that. Also thank you to the Texas Legends, another Frisco sports team. We are now recording at the studio in the Legends headquarters here. If we’re going to have you on the show sometime you’re going to have come out to Dr Pepper Arena for it.Sean Dorwaldt: Definitely.Scott Ellis: All right, guys, thank you very much and we will talk to you next week. Thank you, Sean.Sean Dorwaldt: Hey, thank you.