Q&A with Dallas Football Elite Supporters Group
Ever wonder how Supporter Groups get started? Curious to know what other SG’s do to prepare on game day? Today we are introducing a new series where we profile Supporter Groups from the various MLS cities. To start us off we’re going to Dallas, and in the next couple of days it’s off to Colorado and Montreal.
1- Intro of group (When, Where, How, Why?)
The DFE started as a group of guys that wanted to get together for FC Dallas matches and tailgate. Basically, we understood that in Texas, American football rules all. But we felt that FC Dallas had a lot to offer the average sports fan. It was disappointing to attend the matches and see the lack of fan support. So with a little help from the FC Dallas front office, we were able to form our group with the intentions of reaching out to all sports fans that might not necessarily be soccer fans. Our hopes were to not only sell the club with our new members, but to sell the sport and help provide an atmosphere that everyone enjoyed being in. Our group was officially formed in Feb. 2010. The founders of our group were Sean Dorwaldt, Chris Lankford, Steve Heller, Dustin Parrish, Charles Mitchell, and Matt Carothers.
Since the founding of the group, the group has evolved and grown into a strong supporters group for FC Dallas. We originally started off with only 16 members, and are now at 95 members. 87 of our members are season ticket holders which is a huge asset to the group in retention of our members. The DFE now model’s itself after some of the English Premier league groups and we see ourselves as more of an English type supporters group as opposed to the Latin American type of group. We stand, we chant, but most of all we give hell to the visiting clubs. Our section, 103, has been newly named the, “The Snake Pit” to show all opposing clubs that come to our house that they are gonna get the verbal treatment when they cross us.
2- How is the group run? What is the structure?
The DFE is ran by a council that consist of a president and council leaders. The council has had its up’s and downs over the years in getting formed, but the leaders that are now in it are definitely establishing themselves and the leadership as a strong foundation that will keep the DFE growing.
- Sean Dorwaldt
- BJ Burrus
- Bryan Jones
- Aaron Wessner
- Ross Elder
3- What is your groups relationship with the team like?
The DFE has a great relationship with the team. We are one of four supporter groups and have a great working relationship with the front office. We meet regularly with the front office to help plan and organize events and schedules. We believe that the better our relationship is with the front office, the more we can achieve as a group in growth and atmosphere for match day.
4- What is your relationship with the players?
The DFE loves the relationship that we have with the players. You won’t really see us on the field taking pictures with the players, but what you will see is us having meet and greet sessions out at the pub with the players. We love to organize meet and greets so that we can have a good time with the players and help them to get to know us on more of a personal level. The players really enjoy this and usually seek us out for the next time we can all get together again. Our group members love this about the DFE, and this has really been a great addition to our group that has helped the DFE to grow. George John, Bobby Warshaw, and our ex keeper Kevin Hartman are all some of our favorite players that we love hanging out with.
The DFE also helped with the Jay Demerit story, a film that was released last year about how Jay became the professional he is today. Even though Jay isn’t a player with our club he always makes an effort when he comes to Dallas to hang out with the DFE. We have had some great nights at the pub with Jay!
5- What is your game day ritual?
The DFE’s match day experience has evolved into a great one!
We pre match in the SE lot of the stadium with the Dallas Beer Guardians, another supporters group. During pre matching we typically have our tents up, cooking out, drinking, and playing beer pong!
Next season FC Dallas will have the clubs drum line that will come out and meet us at the pre match. We will then follow the drum line into the stadium where we do our ceremony, scarfing the Lamar Hunt statue.
After that we will head to our section, 103, aka the Snake Pit for the match. When the match is over we will head to Two Brothers grill for what we call, the “After Party”
All together we believe that our match day schedule is a great one to help all who come out get the most of their experience.
6- What does the group do for away games?
If it’s Houston, we are going to the match, because we all hate Houston and we enjoy showing up there to tell them that. Hopefully next season we will also organizing a road trip to KC as well.
For other matches like to support the club in their efforts to organize a pub watching party. These are always great events that the club has worked hard on to create a great atmosphere for all.
7- What does the group do to stay in touch during the offseason?
The DFE is an extremely close group. We always tell new members that they are now part of our family, which is something we strive to keep within our group even though we are growing. Our group has it’s own indoor soccer team that members play on together. We always find a reason to get together at the pub and watch matches or just drink together. Most of our members live in or around Frisco, Texas so it’s fairly easy to keep everyone together.
8- How involved is the group with the community?
The DFE strives to continue and get better in our efforts to support the community.
Last season we raised money for Passing Hope, and we also help with the FC Dallas foundation in their efforts to raise money.
The DFE’s average age in our group is 32 years old. A lot of our members are working professionals with families. We take a lot of pride in wanting to be a respected group that helps in our community.
9- Who is your biggest rival?
Houston, they suck in every way you can imagine.
Their supporters are dirty, as you can see from last years MLS cup. #weallhatehouston is commonly seen from all FCD supporters groups.
10- What is your relationship with other MLS’ Supporter Groups?
Today it is great! We feel that we have a great relationship with the Dallas Beer Guardians and together we were able to form North End United. This is the name of our supporters group Union. The groups in our union are the Dallas Beer Guardians, The DFE, Red Shamrock, and the Inferno. We love all the supporters and are honored to be a part of our great Union.
11- What is your relationship with other Dallas’ SGs?
With the formation of North End United, all the recognized supporter groups gets along great. They are all great people that care deeply about FC Dallas. We back them all and they back us all. We believe that all of us together can continue to build an amazing soccer atmosphere here in Dallas!