FC Dallas will become the first-ever Major League Soccer team to travel to the United Arab Emirates to train and play exhibition games, according to the club on Friday. The Hoops will spend the first segment of its 2014 preseason in the United Arab Emirates when the club travels for two weeks to Abu Dhabi, UAE, in January and February 2014.
The preseason trip was facilitated through the cooperation and support of the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington, DC. “This is a great example of the continued growth of the dynamic relationship between both countries,” said Yousef Al Otaiba, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States. “FC Dallas will be the first American professional soccer team to come to the UAE and they are a great organization to pioneer this effort.”
Al Jazira Sports and Culture Club will host FC Dallas from Jan. 30 to Feb. 12. The team will travel on Emirates Airlines to and from the UAE. While in Abu Dhabi, the team will stay at the Al Jazira Sports Hotel and train at the Al Jazira SCC facility. FC Dallas is planning at least three friendly games during the trip, along with a special night for the American business community living and working in the UAE. The team will also make several community appearances during the trip.
“We are honored to be the first MLS team to spend our preseason in the UAE and believe this will be the beginning of a long-term relationship with the wonderful people of Abu Dhabi,” said Dan Hunt, vice president of Hunt Sports Group.
Currently, Al Jazira are fourth in the Arabian Gulf League, according to a report from Examiner.com. Another team that FC Dallas could face on their tour of the Emirates is Al Jazira’s rival, Baniyas, as well as one of a number of clubs from Dubai, including Al Ain, the current league champions and winners of the 2003 AFC Champions League. Al Ain features one of Ghana’s most storied strikers in Asamoah Gyan.