FRISCO, Texas - Despite missing a majority of the 2005 season due to injury, FC Dallas Richard Mulrooney kept his promise to make an impact in the community in Dallas just as he did while in San Jose. For that reason and more, the Tennessee native was honored as this year's recipient of the club's Humanitarian of the Year award.
"One of my goals upon coming to Dallas was to get involved in the community. I was in San Jose for a while and was able to set up camps, coaching and did the appearances the club had set up," said Mulrooney. "I got to know the community well and obviously coming to Dallas I wanted to be accepted for what I did on the field as well as off."
Said FCD captain Greg Vanney about Mulrooney's character: "You like to have people with personality on your team - he's great to have around. He's got a great personality and a great person."
The Hoops picked up the midfielder from the Earthquakes in an offseason blockbuster deal along with forward Arturo Alvarez. Mulrooney immediately made his presence felt in the locker room with both the veterans and the youth by bridging the gap and promoting team unity. Unfortunately, his on-field presence lasted just little more than a month, as he suffered a knee injury May 14 in his first match against his former club.
"Rich is a great guy. He is always smiling I have never heard him say anything negative. He tries to bring everyone together and have that team camaraderie and he is a very likeable person," said FCD defender Clarence Goodson.
Added FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke: "He's a good voice in the locker room because of his experience and he talks with the young kids and teaching them and letting them know what its all about."
Once Mulrooney established himself with the team, he then set about to establish his links within the area and sat down with the FCD front-office staff and worked out a plan to increase the awareness of the club in the community.
"At the beginning of the year I sat down with (marketing coordinator) Laurie (Barnard), who has done a great job with our appearances this year, and talked to her about different things I wanted to set up for the club with giving back to the community - such as a program to raffle off my shoes after each game and donate the money to a society of my choice," said Mulrooney. "But unfortunately I only got one game that I got to set that up for and then I got hurt. But that is in the works for next year."
The Hoops as a whole participate in community involvement, such as last year's humanitarian award recipient Steve Jolley, who asked Mulrooney for his jersey while the midfielder played for San Jose. The defender posted the jersey on eBay and donated the earnings to a needy organization.
"I am the one that got the Humanitarian of the Year award, but Steve Jolley has set up fundraisers as well. Each player has an idea of what he is capable of and mine this year was to raffle my shoes off and donate the money to a good cause and other guys have done the same this year," Mulrooney said.
FCD and the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area have a great contributor of time and effort for the community in Mulrooney and it goes beyond the realm of just a player.
"He does a lot of things that go unnoticed that people wouldn't know about, (he has) a very good character and a pro. He has the type of character we have always wanted here at FCD," said Clarke.
"The kids that are at these clinics - they look up to us, and if you are able to touch one or two of these kids' lives, then it is worth it," said Mulrooney.
Ron Goode is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.