New on SocTakes: Investigating Dallas Sidekicks’ disappearance

Dallas Sidekicks

Image credit: Dallas Sidekicks

On Sept. 21, 2017, the Dallas Sidekicks of the Major Arena Soccer League issued a statement that they were taking the 2017-18 MASL season off. Since then, there has been no activity anywhere from the team. Nothing on Twitter, Facebook or the team website.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting any announcement from the team, not just because it’s my local MASL team, but because I was actually planning on covering their games for Dallas Sports Fanatic last fall and the league as a whole for Soc Takes.

At some point in time back in March, the web hosting expired, and the site was replaced with a generic expiration notice. And then, the site suddenly came back up in June.

I waited to see if that might lead to new activity somewhere online. After nearly a month, there’s been nothing. So, I got curious and decided to dig a little deeper.

I sent an email to the team’s season ticket address asking about potential season tickets for next season. I immediately received the following notice from GMail:

Dallas Sidekicks

I followed that up with an email directly to an acquaintance listed on the team’s staff directory. Same error message. I sent a third email, this time directly to the team’s general manager, and received yet another failed delivery message. Curious. A fourth message to the director of operations and a fifth to the team CFO led to the exact same error. None of the email addresses listed anywhere on the website seem to be active. I settled for filling out the contact form on the site, which appears to be operational.

At that point, I called the team’s number and pressed the menu option for general inquiries. This transferred me to the ticket sales line which went directly to voicemail. I left a message anyway, hung up and called again. I tried every one of the six listed options, and got only two possible destinations: ticket sales, or “front office 2.” Hmm. Normally, I could write this off as being outside of office hours, but this was at 4 p.m. on a Monday.

My next plan of attack was to call the arena itself, the Allen Event Center. The Sidekicks still list their office address at the arena. And yet, when I called, the woman on the other end said that the Sidekicks don’t have an office at the arena and she doesn’t know a way to get ahold of anyone.

The next step was to contact the league directly. I sent an email to one of the media contacts at the MASL and left a voicemail with another. I haven’t heard anything back yet, but the league is based in the Eastern Time Zone, so it was already nearing 6 p.m. at their office on Monday.

At this point, I’m curious to find out what on earth happened. I can’t find current information for any of the staff members listed on the website anywhere. No social media, not even anything on LinkedIn. The closest lead I’ve found for GM/head coach Simon Bozas lists him working for a bank based in California.

The last step I took was to check the Whois data for the team website. In looking for more info, I found a second, clearly unfinished site with a .net URL. I checked Whois data for both domains, and found that DallasSidekicks.com was last updated in 2015, while DallasSidekicks.net was updated in April of this year. Both domains are registered with GoDaddy, but a Traceroute revealed the two domains don’t point to the same server at all. One is in Absecon, N.J., and the other in Henderson, Nev.

So, I’ve reached a dead end for the time being. I’ll hopefully have more information soon and will update this story if/when that happens.

Follow John on Twitter: @JohnMLTX.

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