The North American Soccer League (NASL) will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a Legends Game presented by Panini following the FC Dallas vs Sporting Kansas City match, which will be played October 21 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Former Dallas Tornado and a staple in the North Texas Soccer community Bobby Moffat, along with several others, has created an opportunity for older fans to relish in a state of nostalgia, while allowing younger fans to become more familiar with the trend-setting American soccer league.
“I reached out to FC Dallas back in 2016 – primarily Clark and Dan Hunt about possible putting something together,” Moffat said. “They have been very generous in setting everything up, and it has grown into something I never could have imagined two years ago.”
The Legends Game will be held in conjunction with the 2018 National Soccer Hall of Fame Weekend. There will be a press conference and luncheon on Saturday, October 20. Later that night, Grammy-award winning band Imagine Dragons will be performing following the 2018 National Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The weekend will culminate Sunday, October 21 with the FC Dallas match and NASL Legends Game occurring shortly after. Ticket packages for the entire weekend are available here. Everyone who attends the FC Dallas game is eligible to stay after the match to attend the NASL Legends Game. An autograph session will follow the match.
“I think nostalgia will take over for some of the older fans – as for the younger fans, it is an opportunity to witness history and learn more about a league that, if it had not formed, it’s possible soccer wouldn’t be where it currently is in this country,” Moffat said. “It also shows that soccer, unlike some other sports, is a lifetime sport that you can play forever.”
Moffat hopes to have over 40 players competing in the match. Among those will be former Dallas Tornado players Zequinha, Jan Book, Steve Pecher and Kyle Rote Jr. Zequinha and Pecher competed in the World Cup for Brazil and the United States respectively. Rote Jr. became the only American player to lead the league in scoring in 1973. Former Tampa Bay Rowdies and San Diego Sockers players and Dallas Sidekick greats Tatu and Doc Lawson will also be competing. Former New York Cosmos players Pele and Franz Beckenbauer have also been invited to attend. A full list of all the confirmed players as well as additional background on the NASL can be found on the event’s website.
“It really was a very good league. We had teams from coast to coast and in Canada and expanded to 24 teams at one point,” Moffat said. “It was an amazing league that got a lot of big crowds at the time.”
Moffat specifically brought up a New York Cosmos playoff game that brought in 78,000 people. The Cosmos in particular featured an impressive line-up, so much so that Beckenbauer stated, “The Cosmos were Real Madrid before Real Madrid,” when interviewed by Jack Bell of the New York Times.
In addition to the former NASL players that will be featured, Manny Ortiz Jr has put together the referees for the event, which will include his father, Manny Ortiz. Moffat explained that in order to put this together, a lot of people have helped him out immensely.
“A lot of people have helped out whether it has been FC Dallas, Dallas Cup or North Texas Soccer,” Moffat said. “ We are also scheduled to talk to over 20 North Texas Soccer associations, and we are just gratified and very appreciative to all who have helped to put this together.”