Polyphonic Spree's H-O-O-P-S Yes!
There are a ton of songs about or inspired by Dallas, and they say a lot about who we are. So each week in this space, we'll take a closer week at one of these songs — and we'll try to determine what, exactly, they say about this great city of ours. Check out this feature's archives here.
While FC Dallas is probably just the fifth-most popular professional sports team in North Texas, no other team in the area has played such a major role in pioneering the sport it plays. Period.
Formed in 1996 as the Dallas Burn, the team's story actually goes back much farther than that. Thirty years prior, Lamar Hunt, the son of Dallas oil tycoon HL Hunt, attended a World Cup match while traveling in England and decided that the sport would, in fact, go over well back in the States. A year later, he formed the Dallas Tornado, one of the country's first professional soccer teams, and he co-founded the North American Soccer League, which lasted up until its 1984-85 season.
But that wasn't the first professional sports league Hunt had a hand in launching — nor would it be his last. Using his vast oil inheritance, Hunt applied several times for a National Football League expansion team beginning in the late '50s, and even made a failed attempt to purchase the Chicago Cardinals in 1959 with the intent to move the team to Dallas. The next year, the Cardinals moved to St. Louis and eventually to Arizona, where they've played since 1988.
Undeterred, Hunt and seven of his wealthy pals — known collectively as the “Foolish Club” — that had also been turned down for NFL franchises would go on to form the American Football League in 1959. For the next three years, Hunt's franchise, the Dallas Texans, competed locally for fans with the Dallas Cowboys before ultimately moving to Kansas City and becoming the Chiefs.
The AFL didn't prove to be a foolish endeavor; it was stiff competition to the well-established NFL. But the competition also drove up player salaries to the point that both leagues agreed to a merger in 1966 under the conditions that they'd have a common draft, and that both leagues' champions would play a championship game at the end of their respective seasons. Allegedly inspired by watching his children play with a Super Ball, Hunt suggested that the game should be called the Super Bowl.
As mentioned earlier, though, these weren't Hunt's only two forays into launching professional sports leagues. As part of a 1988 agreement, which awarded the US the right to host the 1994 World Cup, US Soccer promised to establish a Division 1 professional soccer league. With the help of Hunt and a few other investors, Major League Soccer formed in 1995 and began play the following year.
The Dallas Burn and nine other teams competed that first year. Interestingly, at one point, Hunt simultaneously owned two other franchises in addition to Dallas — the Columbus Crew and the Kansas City Wizards.
In 1999, Hunt financed the construction of the country's first soccer-specific stadium for his Columbus team. In 2005, Hunt built another soccer-specific stadium in Frisco for the Burn.
But relocating to Frisco wasn't the only change the team made that year. That year, Hunt explained that he wanted his Dallas club to take on a new name and uniform that would be more synonymous with the sport internationally.
Thus he rebranded the team Football Club Dallas — or FC Dallas for short.
It was the aforementioned change in uniforms, however, that helped spawn one of the great songs about Dallas. Taking a page out of Glasgow's team Celtic FC's book, the stripes on the team's jerseys were referred to as “hoops.” And, soon after, The Hoops became one of the team's official nicknames.
Thus, when Adidas tapped Dallas' Polyphonic Spree in 2007 to pen an official theme song for FC Dallas as part of its “MLS Represent” campaign, Tim DeLaughter's seemingly nonsensical idea to call the song “H-O-O-P-S Yes!” actually makes perfect sense.
In the song, the Spree make several mentions of the word “fate” — even rhyming it with itself at one point towards the end of the song. And, to that end, Lamar Hunt and the City of Dallas both seem pretty heavily fated to have been major role players in both the launch and growth in popularity of the sport of soccer in the US.
For his efforts in helping to bring soccer to America, Hunt was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1992, and awarded their prestigious Medal of Honor in 1999. That award has only been handed out three times in history.
That same year, the United States Soccer Federation changed the name of the U.S. Open Cup (the federation's oldest competition) to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The NFL continues to honor Hunt's legacy as well, naming the AFC's championship trophy after him.
Of course, as revered as these honors are, you won't find anyone who'll argue they aren't wholly deserved.
Throughout his life, Lamar Hunt constantly proved that where there's a strong will — and a huge sum of money — there's a way.
Polyphonic Spree photo by Lauren Logan.