Going For Goal

By Melissa Smith

The Dallas Sidekicks have begun their comeback season with a perfect 4-0 record. This year’s team is comprised of players new to the indoor game, as well as several Sidekick veterans. One of the most recognizable names fans are cheering for is midfielder Nick Stavrou, who decided to rejoin the team for his eleventh season.

Stavrou was 22 years old when he arrived in Dallas to play for the Sidekicks. A recent graduate of Cleveland State, he had plans to stay in Ohio and be drafted by the MISL team he had been training with. The Sidekicks, however, snatched him up as the 10th overall selection in the draft on February 13, 1991.

“I definitely had some hesitations about moving to Dallas, but the group of players who helped me get situated and learn the game made my point of view change,” Stavrou said. “That’s hopefully what I can do for the young guys coming in now.”

The 43-year-old has spent his entire professional career with the Sidekicks. His 10 seasons with the franchise included three league championships in 1993, 1998 and 2001. At different points he lead the team in blocked shots, game-winning goals, playoff assists and championship game goals. He scored 205 regular season goals and four playoff goals.

When the Sidekicks folded in 2004, Stavrou decided to keep his family in Texas and further embed himself in DFW’s evergrowing soccer community, coaching club, high school and college teams. “North Texas in any sport is such a competitive market,” Stavrou said. “I like the standard from a playing and coaching point of view. It’s a great place to be.”

With the reformation of the franchise, Stavrou was excited at the opportunity to get back out onto the field. This year he has lent both his playing and coaching experience to his young Sidekicks teammates, some of whom are still getting used to the indoor game. “When you get into a professional way of thinking, it’s a completely different game,” Stavrou said. “There is definitely a learning curve for some of the young guys. I think it was always Tatu’s intention to get some of the older guys involved in helping out on and off the field.”

The Sidekicks have sold out the Allen Event Center for its first two home games of the season. Stavrou is impressed by the dedication of the team’s fans, both old and new. “When we sign autographs after the games, it’s amazing to see people that have been fans for 20 years,” Stavrou said.

“The Sidekicks were always such a big part of the community, and I hope we can be that way again. It’s also great to meet the new generation of kids out there and show them that professional players can be touchable, can be role models and can hopefully make a difference in their lives.”

The team has already begun to make a difference on the field, winning all four of their games so far this season. There are 12 more regular season games to go, but he is confident the mix of veteran and young players is paying off, and believes the Sidekicks have what it takes. “I think with the way we’re playing, the Sidekicks can be a contender, which is what we’re used to being.” Stavrou said. “On the field, I feel we’ve got a team that can challenge anybody.”

The Sidekicks will take on the Texas Strikers in their next match on Saturday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m. at the Allen Event Center. Individual and season tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster or the team website. For more information, visit www.dallassidekicks. net or call 214-550-6130.

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