The Best April Fools' Day Pranks in MLS History

Winslow Townson

A look back at the legend of Fangoso and the innovative sleeveless jersey. This article may be the only trustworthy piece you read today.

If there's ever a day to step away from the computer, it's April 1st. Each year, the internet is flooded with believable hoaxes that are aimed to make people look foolish. To make matters more confusing, the day can actually produce some important news, like the 2011 trade that sent Dwayne De Rosario to the New York Red Bulls from Toronto FC in exchange for Tony Tchani, Danleigh Borman and a first-round draft pick.

With this in mind, be weary of the news you read today. If you do fall victim to an April Fools' Day prank, take solace in the fact that you aren't the first. Here's a look at some of the top pranks in MLS history:

1. Harrington finds his inner cat

It's hard to believe that a player would participate in a photo shoot where he is asked to be a cat, but if Landon Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni, and Brian McBride willingly posed for those infamous pre-2002 World Cup pictures then anything is possible.

Current Portland Timbers player Michael Harrington was the victim of an April Fools' Day prank in 2010 when he was asked to pose for Maxim magazine. The photo shoot required Harrington to roll around in the grass, climb a fence and pounce on a ball, all while wearing feline face paint.

The incident was filmed and shown to Harrington's teammates at the Kansas City Wizards. The defender took the prank in stride by laughing alongside his colleagues and even taking a bow.

2. The Revs sign a number 10

The New England Revolution looked to have added the most versatile player in MLS history when they signed Luis "El Lobo" Fangoso on April 1, 2004. The Argentine could reportedly play any position on the field expect goalkeeper, which was odd considering Fangoso's striking resemblance to Matt Reis.

El Lobo soon returned to his native land of Gibraltar, only to reappear in 2007 for a second stint with the Revs. Unfortunately for the Fangoso, the team bus left without him in Chicago which caused him to once again slip into obscurity.

Fangoso signed a one-day contract in 2010 to officially retire as a Revolution player. The flamboyant player ended his career with words to live by:

"The hunger never dies. But there comes a time when it's time to move on - and now is that time. And I am going to lunch."

3. FC Dallas gets a new look

Nothing causes more of an outpour from social media than the launch of a new jersey.

In 2012, FC Dallas announced the most innovative kit in league history: a sleeveless design known as the "Century Jersey." The black-and-white kit was reportedly an attempt to be bold. Designed with the hot Texas summers in mind, the jersey was touted as a "notable milestone for both the league and team" in the press release.

The feedback about the jersey was varied with some applauding the unique proposal and others condemning it. Perhaps most humorous were the supporters that commented that the new jersey would allow them to display their guns.

4. Herc is coming home

With a clear record of being outspoken on Twitter, it isn't a surprise that Herculez Gomez would get in on the April 1st fun. The US International has constantly been linked with a return to his domestic league since leaving in 2010. In 2013, Gomez decided to have fun with the perpetual rumors by tweeting a picture of himself in a Chivas USA shirt with a message saying that he was coming home.

In an attempt to add to the validity of the prank, Gomez tweeted an "official confirmation" from Chivas USA's account. The internet was buzzing as the initial tweet got 97 retweets and the confirmation got 29.

Gomez's elaborate ruse worked as several media outlets picked up the story. In the end, Gomez continued to ply his trade in Mexico, making all skeptical of what he posts online.

5. MLS is coming to Austin

The increased level of skepticism makes it hard to pull a prank on April Fools' Day. With this in mind, the Austin Chronicle decided to pull one of the first soccer-related tricks of 2014 on March 28th.

Claiming to have a press release that was to be released on April 1st, the Chronicle announced that Austin would be soon be building a soccer stadium to attract attention from MLS. The 1500+ word article looks realistic with artist renderings, quotes from local politicians and more.

Of course, the project, which allegedly included a new rail line, was nothing more than a deception. This is particularly cruel since Austin was once home to the Aztex, who moved to Orlando, FL before being named a MLS expansion team.

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