During the 2018 season, 17 of Major League Soccer’s 23 teams held Pride Nights as a show of support for their LGBTQ fanbases and their respective communities.
And with the 2019 season underway, there comes the happy news that you can add one more club to that list as FC Dallas just announced it will be holding its first-ever Pride Night on Saturday, June 1.
The evening’s match against the Seattle Sounders is officially being billed as “Soccer for All Night” and is considered part of MLS’s league-wide campaign of the same name. To coincide with the pride theme, all FC Dallas players will appear during the ceremonial pregame procession wearing what the team website describes as “pride training tops.”
The procession is the most visible moment for players before the match begins and tying that tradition in with pride sends a message of visibility for FC Dallas’s LGBTQ supporters.
As of this moment, the design for the pride tops has not been revealed. But FC Dallas does currently sell men’s and women’s pride shirts in its official team store and they reveal a basic truth that wasn’t apparent until now: longhorn steers and rainbow colors go together as well as Neil Patrick Harris and shirtlessness. The “Bevo goes to the Troye concert” look rules.
While this is the first officially designated Pride Night in FC Dallas history, the club’s fans had taken matters into their own hands in previous years, displaying Texas gay pride flags throughout a designated match. Such gestures undoubtedly helped FC Dallas realize that fans were ready to accept a Pride Night held by the team itself.
Soccer for All Night also takes place during the Dallas Pride festival and is one of several noteworthy events happening throughout Big D that weekend. The festival culminates in the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade through the historic Fair Park grounds on Sunday, June 2.
And FC Dallas is not the only DFW Metroplex team to show their support for the LGBTQ community during the annual celebration. The Dallas Mavericks traditionally sponsor a float during the parade with their mascot Champ rocking a rainbow mane and tail as if it was just announced that this week’s Drag Race theme was “pantomime horses.”
The Mavericks, incidentally, just held their first Pride Celebration this past March 26 while the Dallas Stars hosted the annual You Can Play Night inclusivity promotion on February 19. While Texas is stereotypically viewed as one of the most socially conservative states in the nation, three Dallas-area teams scheduling Pride Nights is officially an encouraging trend.
While not all teams are on board yet (Hi, Texas Rangers! You, too, Houston Astros!), every successful pride celebration is also a demonstration that it’s time for Texas teams to consider the LGBTQ community an important part of their fanbases. And with each successive Pride Night, it helps put pressure on the hold-outs to get on board the inclusion train.
FC Dallas is doing its part to let the Dallas-Fort Worth community know that they’re valued. Hopefully, this is the start of Soccer for All Night becoming a Dallas Pride tradition.