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PERFECT! The SIDEKICKS season begins.

by JB Blocker
  The return of the Sidekicks felt like coming home at the new Allen Event Center. I stood inside the edge of the field with the camera men and wondered how many of the old Sidekicks would be remembered.    
  The near capacity crowd of around 6000 had come by the teams, the families, the companies, and area community leagues. When I crossed the parking lot to enter I passed a senior enthusiast in a wheel chair and was passed by a set of teens with one boy halfway running with use of his crutches. They came in so many colors it was like a UN assembly of joyful children. They came in Purple!
  They came with old Sidekicks t-shirts and jerseys. They lined up in crowds around the new Sidekicks accessories. Kids running around in packs of pink and blue jerseys. My own grandchildren delighted by the giveaway soccer backpacks. It was a place for families to be. I watched as the crowds gathered and then settled in as the loud speakers introduced the team!
  Stavro, Sagu, Shamu, Couch, David, Ricardinho, they knew those names! The crowd remembered! 
After eight years, my 15 year old went to their games in elementary school. Tatu coaches at her High School. She remembered Doyle, and Renato, and Powers.
  When the spot light directed to the giant purple air blown tunnel opening and the last name was announced, TATU, the crowd exploded with what you could call nothing less than love. Love for his being a part of the community. For giving us 20+ years of exciting soccer. And for teaching hundreds of local children and their families the game of soccer.
  Tatu came bounding out with the same wide eyed exuberance he displayed years ago when he famously ripped off his shirt after goals.
  This time, elegant with time and grace, the man in a sports suit still ran out into to arena as if he were ready to play.
  I was, at that moment, proud for the area to once again have the Sidekicks active in the North Dallas communities. They will be great ambassadors for area schools and soccer clubs. You can count on this ownership for their vast experience and connection to this community.
  As the returning players gathered around the center of the arena and were joined by the 2012 Edition, I eased out a side panel and slapped the plexglass. The clap was nothing compared to what 6000 people were about to witness!
Game On
  I’ve been to the games at Reunion and at the American Airlines Center. When the team generated full houses, it was more like being part of a spectacle. My nice choice press box seats were a mile away and the players moves were too quick and too far away to appreciate.
  As soon as play began in Allen’s cozy 6000 seat arena the slamming of bodies against the wall began. Booming, jarring, in your face collisions with man and ball and plexiglass. From that point on, the raw action of quick passes, brilliant footwork, and explosive kicks came from every part of the field.
  Sagu was tested early with a barrage of shots on goal. He was a prized goalie 8 years ago and has only gotten better during that time winning awards and championships. Dallas is lucky to have him back and for those who fell for the Team USA Soccer goalies and their determined athletisism, you can witness a world class goalie up close as he returns to defend for the Sidekicks.
    These were knowledgeable fans. These were soccer families not only from around the Metroplex, but from all over the world. Many fans returned who like me spent young adulthood cheering for Tatu and the teams heroics. And for this crowd, they were getting a full display of power, speed, and skill from both teams. As the dynamic collisions with glass continued, even the press box seats gave you a great look of the intricacies of footwork on display. This crowd recognized skill and gave back their appreciation throughout the game.
  I predict that each home game will sell out the rest of the way and if you and your family participate in soccer, you are in for a treat!
  The night was perfect! Dallas won 6 to 2 over the Harrisburg Heat led by former local favorite Richard Chinapoo.
  The size in the arena is going to prove to be too small for the fans, but it will be perfectly sold out every game and professional skills soccer is going to entertain and inspire a new generation in soccer rich Collin County.
  Tatu is gifted as a soccer talent but his joy for the game and the people it puts him near is his real value to not only his team, but our community. He’s the perfect coach for the Kicks.
  I watched with pride as the great Norm Hitzges and coach Gordon Jago prepared in the press box as the on air voices for the old Sidekicks. These are two respected powerhouses who love the Sidekicks and what they gave Dallas in the 80’s and 90’s. This is a community driven team who will feed off the energy of their fans and give it back in spades.
  It was a little late when I left the arena. I gave my regards to my old friend Jim Tolbert, one of the new owners and left with one of my favorite couples to hang out with, Mayor Steve Terrell and wife Sally. As I reached the exit doors, there was Tatu. He was still surrounded by children and he was smiling from ear to ear as he posed for photos and signed the soccer backpacks. The night was perfect.

to watch the introduction of the team to the community you can follow this link.

- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas.

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