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What Did I Do? Soccer Pro Asks Club

DALLAS (CN) - A pro soccer player-coach claims in court that his Dallas club fired him unfairly and forced him to shut down his charity soccer camps for children.

Daniel Hernandez sued FC Dallas Soccer in Dallas County Court.

Hernandez, 36, played for Major League Soccer and Liga MX, Mexico's top professional league.

He claims the Dallas club lied to him and forced him into retirement, and hurt the kids who would attend his soccer camps in doing so.

Hernandez, a former team captain, claims the club refused to renew his player contract for the 2011-2012 season unless he took on the additional role of assistant coach.

He says head coach Schellas Hyndman promised the club would renew his player contract in 2012 and 2013 if he signed, so he did so. Hyndman, who was Hernandez's coach at Southern Methodist University is not a party to the complaint, whose only defendant is the soccer club.

Hernandez claims that at the end of the 2012 season, FC Dallas refused to renew his player contract if he wanted to remain as a coach.

Worse, Hernandez says, CEO Daniel Hunt told him he had to cancel his nonprofit soccer camps for children because the team thought they would possibly interfere with its business and sponsor relationships.

He says the team also barred him from wearing clothing from his sponsor, Nike, at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco.

"Demonstrating his commitment to FC Dallas, Hernandez complied with every request that Hunt and FC Dallas asked of him," the complaint states.

"Hernandez immediately retired, Hernandez canceled the soccer camp and removed it from his website; and Hernandez stopped wearing Nike apparel to FC Dallas facilities."

Nonetheless, Hernandez says, the team fired him as a coach in December 2012. He says the termination letter claimed he was in breach of contract because he failed to terminate his soccer camps and sponsor relationships - and the Nike logo on his website.

Hernandez claims he was not given notice to remove the Nike logo, and that he complied with orders not to wear Nike clothing-orders which applied only to wearing it at to club facilities.

"Hernandez retired from playing the game that he loved on the promise made by FC Dallas that he would still be a major part of it," the complaint states. "Hyndman and FC Dallas broke those promises. Hyndman and FC Dallas wanted to terminate Hernandez but avoid paying Hernandez the amounts owed him under the coach contract for a termination without cause."

In a further display of animosity, Hernandez says, the team removed his name from a west Dallas soccer field in January.

The Hernandez All-Stars FC Dallas Field was the result of a charity fund-raising campaign Hernandez led in 2011, the complaint states.

Hernandez, a native of Tyler, Texas, played professional soccer for 15 seasons, according to the FC Dallas website.

He led FC Dallas to its first Western Conference Championship and appearance in MLS Cup in 2010. He previously played for Los Angeles Galaxy, the Tampa Bay Mutiny, New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution in Major League Soccer and Necaxa, Puebla and Jaguares de Chiapas in the top Mexican professional league.

Hernandez seeks actual and punitive damages for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, unjust enrichment and promissory estoppel.

He is represented by Mark Shank with Gruber Hurst in Dallas.

Follow @davejourno
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