Dallas Trinity FC hits ground kicking

By David Mullen

On May 8, the Dallas City Council approved nearly $300,000 to Fair Park’s management firm Oak View Group to make the Cotton Bowl available in 2024 for a mysterious sports team. 

On May 9 at Klyde Warren Park, the mystery was solved.

Children celebrate the announcement of Dallas Trinity FC at Klyde Warren Park.
Photos by Kelly Alexander

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and league and team officials announced Dallas Trinity FC, a Division I professional women’s soccer team, will be one of eight teams in the newly created USL Super League. Dallas Trinity FC will make its debut in August in Fair Park’s Cotton Bowl Stadium.

The team is owned by the Neil family, with deep roots in Dallas sports and business. “North Texas has been waiting for this, and now is the right time for professional women’s soccer in Dallas — the best sports business city in the country,” said Charlie Neil, Dallas Trinity FC president. Jim Neil is the team owner, and Trip Neil is CEO.

Dallas Trinity FC joins teams in Brooklyn, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Lexington, Ky., Spokane, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C. in the new league. Dallas Trinity FC’s  team colors will be sunrise maroon, prairie gold and live oak green. The colors “draw inspiration from the city skyline and the Trinity River, which reflects the vibrant nature of Dallas, as well as local pride and excellence.”

“The Trinity River connects this region together,” said Trip Neil, “and then the forks kind of filter out. It’s something that is reflective of Dallas. We’re really proud to bring this community together and we want everyone to feel part of it.”

Dallas Trinity FC’s team of Jim, Charlie and Trip Neil.

Dallas seems to be well suited to launch a professional women’s soccer team and league, considering its rich history. In 1973, the Dallas Sting became the first all-girls soccer club in the U.S. The Dallas Cup, founded in 1980, is still the most prestigious youth soccer tournament in the country.

“The notion that Dallas is a global sport city without a pro women’s soccer team is just wild,” said Neil. “We’ve got more youth women’s players in North Texas than anywhere else in the world. Finally, there’s an opportunity for them to be inspired and have a chance to enjoy learning the soccer game at the professional level.”

No USL Super League games are scheduled against the NWSL (National Woman’s Soccer League), as the two will work under opposite schedules. “We operate on the international calendar, which is what the rest of the world is used to,” Neil said, “August to December with a little break, then you’re on to February to May with the summer break. And you have the opportunity for players to take international breaks to play on Team USA or a representative country. They can go and partake in those events, like the Olympics, over the summer without interfering in the middle of their season.”

The choice of the Cotton Bowl at Fair Park as the home pitch means a professional team with Dallas in their name will actually play in Dallas, like the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars and eventually Dallas Wings. “First of all, what an iconic venue, right?” Neil said. “As you can imagine, we explored all of the opportunities in the Metroplex. 

“A couple of things really stood out to us about Fair Park. One is we wanted to be in Dallas and they wanted us in Dallas, too. So, the partnership was strong. Number two is that we really care about our players. And for the players, the best surface that you can play on is natural grass. The U.S. Men’s National Team, which typically trains up in Frisco when they have international matches in the Metroplex, will be training at the Cotton Bowl because that is their preferred training pitch.”

“We had to have a stadium that’s seated more than 5,000 [fans]. To be in Dallas, with a great partner and on natural grass … that’s the answer.”

Dallas Trinity FC also announced former UT and SMU women’s soccer coach Chris Petrucelli as the team’s GM. Deposits for game tickets are available now at dallastrinityfc.com. More information on USL Super League is accessible at uslsuperleague.com. 

Trip Neil is optimistic about Dallas Trinity FC hitting the ground running and kicking. “I know that an intimate atmosphere is important. We are going to try to sell as many of those seats as we can. Let’s see how big the appetite is. Again, we’ve got the largest soccer market here in North Texas and these folks are in tears about this venture. We’ve heard from folks who live in Oklahoma that are excited to come down.”

Dallas gets its first team in decades to actually play in Dallas with the founding of Dallas Trinity FC. And for many underserved fans, witnessing women’s professional soccer locally is a goal finally achieved.