Recent draft picks have seen significant minutes at FC Dallas
INDIANAPOLIS -- FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman has a history of trial by fire when it comes to his draft picks.
Center back George John made 15 starts on his way to playing 1,162 minutes as a rookie in 2009. In 2010, left back Zach Loyd started 19 matches and played 1,769 minutes. And of course last year defender Matt Hedges played 2,022 minutes while earning 23 starts in 28 appearances.
"That’s what we’re all looking for," Hyndman told FCDallas.com from the MLS Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. earlier this week. "We’re all looking for that rookie that can come in straight out of college and not only make the roster, but make it out onto the field and make an impact."
With picks like John, Loyd and Hedges highlighting his personal SuperDraft history, Hyndman has developed a reputation for being able to pick out impact players. While raw talent is a key factor that all coaches look for in potential picks, Hyndman admitted that talent alone doesn't guarantee a college player will successfully transition to the pros.
"What helps with adjusting to the speed of play [in MLS] is having a high soccer IQ and a good technical ability," said Hyndman. "That technical ability buys you time to be able to make good decisions."
The former MLS Coach of the Year admitted there was one other factor he and his staff regard as critical in player evaluation.
"Attitude really matters to us," said Hyndman. "We want to find out how they carry themselves when something goes right, and more importantly, when something goes wrong."
After attending the NCAA College Cup last month and the MLS Combine last weekend, Hyndman said that while those high-profile events are great for recruiting purposes, no coach makes a pick without doing extensive homework.
"You make fewer mistakes if you track them for their college career," said Hyndman. "There isn’t a coach [at the MLS Combine] that’s looking at these players for the first time.
"The draft is very important to all of us and we know that you have to invest in making the phone calls, studying the video and going to those games yourself if you want to find the right player."