Let’s be honest; every sports team needs a mascot. That’s just the way the sports world works, and that’s the way that we want the sports world to always work. Mascots add a bit of fun into the mix, they become part of the team, and they encapsulate the whole brand in one. While many mascots are simply human beings in costume, there have been many occasions within the MLS when a live animal mascot has made its way onto the field with the players. While all of the stories behind these animals are pretty wild, this one is perhaps the most bizarre.
The famous stallion
If you’re a fan of FC Dallas, you may know that they were once called the Dallas Burns. They made their mark on the MLS world in 1996, and they continued to rock as a team until 2004 when they were rebranded and given a whole new name. Anyone who is familiar with this team – both old and new – may know that the logo features a black horse with lightning bolts as legs, and it seems as though they wanted to bring that logo to life with their very own real-life mascot. Yes, their mascot was an incredible stallion.
Given what they got
Of course, you may be wondering why their logo was a horse with lightning bolts as legs. What’s so amazing and bizarre about this story is the fact that the team didn’t actually have any choice in the matter. Back in the ‘90s, Nike was in charge of creating the branding for all of the teams within the MLS, and it seems as though they didn’t really have any reason as to why they chose certain logos for certain teams. The Dallas Burns were given what they got, so they decided to work with what they were given.
When the team was given their logo and essentially told to market themselves as a team who loved lightning-fast horses, they knew that their mascot needed to represent this. In the end, they settled on a horse by the name of Islamico. This all came about when the team decided to reach out to the local Medieval Times events company, which focused on bringing ye olde dinner parties and performances to the real world. During a meeting, a passing comment noted that it would be pretty cool to see one of their horses galloping down the field – and that comment soon became a reality.
Throughout his career as the mascot for the Dallas Burns, Islamico had two jobs on game day. Not only did he chaperone the players onto the pitch, but he would also receive a standing ovation every time ‘Miserlou’ made its way through the sound system. With his standing ovation behind him, the horse would gallop around the pitch and put on a serious show for everyone in the stadium. It was pretty unique.
Anyone else wish that Islamico was still around?