SMU will host FC Dallas on Westcott field for an open practice on Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m.
FC Dallas will be giving away free t-shirts and pizza for fans that come to watch the practice. FC Dallas will also hold an autograph session after the training.
The club’s return to Westcott field has more sentimental value for head coach Schellas Hyndman who coached at SMU for 26 years.
“I’ve seen a lot of things happen at SMU probably one of the few coaches that was there through the death penalty and seen how we out grew that,” Hyndman said.
“My affection and my heart are with SMU, because really so many good things happened in my life while I was there.”
SMU and FC Dallas have a rich and long history that dates back to when SMU graduate and sports legend, Lamar Hunt purchased the Dallas Burn and renamed the club to FC Dallas in 2003.
“Lamar Hunt, was a very passionate and great supporter of SMU,” said Hyndman. “[He is] a sports legend in our country. The Hunt family is very sports oriented people and are very passionate about the game of soccer. And they have a place in history to help soccer grow especially in this area. If you go back to the 70’s, Lamar Hunt started the Dallas Tornadoes and they played on the SMU campus. It’s going to be something of a legacy but [the relationship] will continue to make history.”
FC Dallas also has three former SMU players on the team.
Ramon Nunez and Ugo Ihemelu are on the roster while TJ Nelson is an unsigned draft pick.
“It’s cool [to go back]. I developed a lot as a player and a person at SMU so I owe alot to the school. FC Dallas and SMU feels like one big family,” Ihemelu said.
“There are so many connections between the two [organizations] that it’s like going back and seeing old friends and families. I’m excited about it.”
Nelson was taken by FC Dallas in the 2013 supplemental draft but hasn’t earned a contract with the team yet.
However, he trains and travels with the team and will be joining them in Tuesday’s open practice.
“It’s definitely heartwarming- going back to where you started,” said Nelson. “I have alot of good memories on that field. Hopefully some people come out and watch- it should be a fun practice.”
Ihemelu and Nelson spent four years at SMU, while Nunez was at the Hilltop for one. Despite his short tenure as a Mustang, Nunez says SMU was a huge part of his development as a player.
“It’s going to be great [coming back],” said Nunez.
“I spent a year there with Schellas, and it was a great year for me. I had the best of both worlds-being able to attend a great university and being close to my family at the same time.”
Schellas wants it to be clear; this is not a promotional training.
“This will be a serious training for us,” said Hyndman. “We need all the training we can get and I know the field is going to be such good quality that I can get anything done I want on it and then we will do the promotional part and the autographs, afterwards. But I’m really looking forward to it.”