Zach Loyd of FC Dallas Is On A Mission To Help Kids of Refugee Families Through Soccer

Stanton Stephens
Zach and Casey Loyd have been using their soccer skills and faith to help kids of refugee families.

On a recent, sunny Sunday afternoon, dozens of youth soccer teams were engaged in some pretty serious competition inside Plano's sizeable Russell Creek Park. Driving into the park, the scene wasn't unlike the one thousands of families from across the Metroplex witness every weekend. Youth soccer has long been a popular family-intensive activity, one that's often treated as something that can be taken for granted; something that will naturally occur during the course of a child's life, as it's indeed so prevalent in North Texas. But for the kids of one specific team playing on that day in north Plano, the chance to slip on a real uniform and play the beautiful game as a member of a real team is something that was far from assured in their recent past.

The two Vickery United soccer teams are comprised of boys that come from the homes of refugee families now living in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood in Dallas. The teams are a product of the Dallas-based Love Is Ministry, which focuses on the many needs of refugee families in that neighborhood, specifically. For decades now, Vickery Meadow, located just east of Central Expressway near Park Lane, has been a haven for refugee families from dozens of countries, looking for stability in a life that has been anything but stable after being ousted from countries such as Tanzania, Burma, Lebanon, as well as countries throughout Africa. Affordable apartments, easily accessed public transportation, and nearby schools have made Vickery Meadow as attractive to refugee families as any other single neighborhood in the United States.

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Seven Outdoorsy Ways To Celebrate Summer's Last Hurrah

Categories: Outside

90 degrees is plenty hot for a day at the pool.

Summer's over. Well, according to the calendar. For North Texans, the end of summer can be bittersweet. On the one hand, the mercury will finally drop to a tolerable level, but it also means no more days spent by the pool, margaritas in hand. There's nothing more exciting as a Texan, though, than spending those magical days at the end of September doing fun summer things that people in cooler climes across the country just can't do.

As Midwesterners and East Coasters break out their jackets and scarves for the advent of autumn, Dallasites should take advantage of summer's last hurrah by spending their time at these ten summery activities and experiences that will expire as soon as fall decides to make her belated appearance in the metroplex.

Waste an afternoon away at F.O.E.
Sure, it's crowded with hipsters and their occasionally well behaved offspring, but you have to go to F.O.E. before it is too cold to take a dip in the already-chilly pool. Take a day off from work to take advantage of the ridiculously cheap bar specials, and judge the tattooed crowds behind your sunglasses. Technically, the pool is open year-round, but you probably only have a few more weeks to take advantage of the optimal pool-lounging temperature.

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A New DC Comics-Themed Dark Ride Is Coming to Six Flags Over Texas

Categories: Outside

Photo courts of Six Flags

The Six Flags theme parks are known for giant roller coasters and drop rides that are designed to pull whatever you've been eating out of you in new and curious ways. It's an ingenious business model when you really think about it. The less food in your system, the more you're likely to spend on concessions.

The theme park chain doesn't just offer gastrointestinal interactive entertainment. It also offers some slower rides for people who don't like wondering what it's like to see their own face stretch off of their skull under extreme G-forces. Six Flags just announced a new DC Comics-themed dark ride for Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington called Justice League: Battle for Metropolis.

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Inflate Your Bike Tires and Your Spirits at Continental Bridge Grand Opening Sunday

Categories: Outside

Check out that view.

We don't actually know if you will be able to inflate your bike tires at Trinity River Revel this Sunday, but you can definitely bike to the party. Talk of the Trinity River tollroad has completely overshadowed the other exciting developments taking place along Dallas' measly water feature. Put talk of that expensive road behind you, because the only thing getting taxed this weekend are your quads when you bike to the party at Large Marge's new neighbor, the Continental Avenue Pedestrian bridge (let's just pick a nickname now. Howsabout Connie?).

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DogFit Dallas' Art Ortiz Aims to Build a Better Dog-Human Relationship

Categories: Outside

Photo courtesy of Art Ortiz
Art Ortiz walks his pack downtown.
"Dogs should live in a world where we the human beings create balance and harmony," says Art Ortiz, owner of DogFit Dallas. "Humans complicate things because we're so emotional, because we're intellectual. We think about the past, we think about the future. But we don't spend much time living in the present, like a dog does." According to DogFit Dallas' website, the company is "Downtown's premiere dog walking, running and fitness service." And while the dogs are certainly walked, it's about more than that. "I offer a social experience," Ortiz says, who walks up to 10 dogs at a time. "Not only are they being walked, but they get to interact with other dogs."

For someone so passionate about dogs, DogFit came about almost on accident. After working in the corporate world for 10 years, Ortiz wanted a change. He wanted to help people. So he became a firefighter. But the gig was short lived when he failed his EMT test. While working random jobs to pay the bills, he realized he really wanted a dog. Over time, one dog turned to three, and Ortiz was the proud owner of a small terrier-mix pack. He started to notice people's reactions when he would take the trio out for a walk and posted on Facebook about it. "Why do people think I'm a dog walker 'cause I have three dogs?" he posted on his wall. That's when a friend of his suggested that he do it for a living, and Ortiz took the suggestion and ran with it.

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Uptown Ciclovía Offers Cyclists a Chance to Ride, Eat and Celebrate without Fear of SUVs

Categories: Outside

Gaston Hinostroza
Organizers of the first Uptown Ciclovía visited the popular Los Angeles version of the event for tips on how it's done.
Name the most walkable or bikeable city. GO!

No shocker if Dallas wasn't your first pick. At least not yet. We may be a veritable metropolis of sprawling-sprawl-McSprawl and super-sized suburbs, but we have efforts like The Better Block Project, the Dallas Bike Plan and other short-term events to create an outdoor community, including a new one, the inaugural Uptown Ciclovía this Monday

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a one-mile stretch of Cedar Springs Road will be de-automobiled to create a walkable, rollable, strollerable, rideable path connecting the Katy Trail to Klyde Warren Park. Joseph Pitchford, chairman of the Uptown Ciclovía Steering Committee (a group of 20 mostly volunteers) and board member of Uptown Dallas Inc., told us via email the idea for the event "first surfaced over two years ago" as a way to "commemorate the improvements along Cedar Springs Road in Uptown."

"Uptown is a beautiful, walkable neighborhood that offers something for everyone, so we were inspired to share that with all of Dallas," Pitchford said. 'We also think the idea of creating a better long-term connection between The Katy Trail and Klyde Warren Park is worth more exploration."

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FootGolf Is a Thing, and It's Actually Fun, Despite the Fact That It Contains the Word "Golf"

Categories: Outside

Danny Gallagher
Andrew Ross tries to putt a soccer ball in a 21.5-inch-wide hole without uttering a phrase that would make the baby Jesus cry at the Lake Park Golf Club in Lewisville.
Golf is an infuriating sport. Prostate exams and unexpected pregnancies are the only two things on this Earth that can draw more curse words from a man's vocabulary.

Soccer looks like it might be exhilarating to play if you can run 10 miles in two hours without wondering if you need visit an emergency room. That's out of the question for me thanks to my love for alcohol, red meat and moving only in order to get those two things.

The latest recreational sports trend has combined the two into something called "FootGolf," a golf-style game that's not a sequel to the derp-filled fest that was the movie BASEketball. In the vein of disc golf, it replaces the tiny white ball and bag of expensive clubs with a soccer ball and your good kicking leg.

The Lake Park Golf Club in Lewisville is the first in Dallas/Fort Worth to offer a nine-hole golf course with holes for both FootGolf and regular golf. Sean Swanberg, the club's general manager, said the sport first gained traction in California and slowly started to move east as more players started bringing soccer balls to local golf courses with the necessary 21.5-inch-wide cups.

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DTOX Davies Hosts Graffiti Tours in Deep Ellum


The Mavs championship mural in Deep Ellum, dog portraits in the Bark Park, the mammoth geisha in Chino Chinatown, the patio wall at Bryan Street Tavern: His work surrounds you and you might not even notice. Jerod DTOX Davies is one of three brothers whose artistic endeavors are visible on street corners and in shops throughout Dallas. They're muralists, aka street artists, and they're changing the way you look at the city, one building at a time.

Davies and his brothers paint together as a small crew that goes by the name 3of1. He points out the numerical signature to me when I meet him in front of the Mavs mural in Deep Ellum.

"Want to know something?" he asks, a grin spreading across his face. "While we were doing this one, the trophy was right across the street. People would be driving by watching us work, then look across the street and see the trophy. Almost caused a few car wrecks."

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The Road to Sochi Tour Will Let You Ride a Bobsled or Luge Without Losing Your Lunch

Categories: Outside

Photo courtesy of The U.S. Army
This could be you minus all the screaming to God and wetting of pants.

Riding a luge or a bobsled must be exhilarating if you could somehow control your natural reaction to scream and lose control of your basic bodily functions. A new Winter Olympic experience tour will let you do just that, and you won't need to pack an extra pair of underpants to do it.

The Road to Sochi Tour will make a stop in Dallas this weekend at Klyde Warren Park. The experience is free and open to the public from 5-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday.

The experience will include simulations and exhibits of 10 Winter Olympic events. Attendees can get their picture taken on a bobsled and in an "in flight" ski jump positioned in front of a virtual track. They can also try their hand at Winter Olympic events such as a biathlon measured with step counting ergometers, a cross-country skiing course on roller skis used by athletes to train during the non-winter months and a roller street luge. The event will also feature a hockey slap shot competition for both the traditional standup and sled hockey events that will keep track of the day's top scorers and fastest shooters. Local Olympians like five-time Olympic long track speedskating champion Chad Hedrick of Spring and 2004 all-around gold medal gymnastics winner Carly Patterson will also make an appearance.

Charming Portraits of People With Their Bicycles at the Dallas Tweed Ride

All photos by Danny Hurley

Tweed is an oddly versatile textile. Tug the stuff on and assume all kinds of mothballed personalities, from tuppence-snatching chimney sweeps to classy bootleggers and warbly penny farthing operators. It all works, and it's all fun.

Each year those scamp cyclists at Bike Friendly Oak Cliff celebrate the throw-back fiber with a themed ride. The 2013 event launched Saturday afternoon from the Grassy Knoll and closed in pinkies-up drinking. It was a chilly day, but tweed is like, super warm, so we can happily report that all survived.

We sent photographer Danny Hurley to capture their adventure in photos. Here's our ten favorites.

All photos by Danny Hurley

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