Hernandez ready to lead FC Dallas

New captain looking forward to being Hyndman's field general

Daniel Hernandez, FC Dallas

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Toward the end of the FC Dallas Kickoff Luncheon on
Thursday, Daniel Hernandez was called to the podium. The new team captain gave
a relatively brief but heartfelt speech, and even worked in a movie reference
for good measure.

After hearing his simple but powerful message, those in
attendance knew FCD had found a true leader for the 2010 season, especially
given his speech was mostly off the cuff.

 “[I prepared] a
little bit; they just told me about it yesterday so I tried to get my thoughts
together,” Hernandez admitted after the speech. “Most of it [was off the cuff].
… It works your nerves like anything else. I would say I’m decent at it. I’m an
OK speaker and don’t have too many problems doing it.”

Hernandez college ball under current FCD head coach Schellas
Hyndman at SMU, and he joined Dallas last summer after a successful stint in
Mexico that lasted several years. He quickly became FCD’s starting defensive
midfielder and early on showed signs of the leadership required to wear the
armband this year.

However, Hernandez admitted he had no aspirations to captain
the club when he arrived back in Dallas last summer.

 “Not really—it
probably didn’t cross my mind,” Hernandez said. “After coming in at the end of
the season, you already think that there is a captain, so you wouldn’t expect
any changes for next year.

“I was so far from thinking about it because I was more excited about
being home and being back with Schellas.”

Wearing the armband for his former college coach, with whom
he maintains a close personal relationship, gives the captaincy added meaning.

 “It means a
lot,” Hernandez said. “I think it’s a respect thing. It really makes me feel
good and appreciative towards him because I know he looks at me as a leader."

Hernandez said he has always cared what Hyndman thinks of

“When I was with other teams or in Mexico playing, I always
thought about it and hoped that I was making him proud,” Hernandez said. “That’s
just the type of relationship I have with him.”

The two even exchange gifts around the holidays.

“I’ve always looked at him as a special friend and that’s
why I’ve always done that,” he said.

Like all his teammates, the new Dallas captain is ready to get the 2010 regular
season underway, which FCD will do on Saturday when Houston visits Pizza Hut
Park for an afternoon tilt.

knows that they’re always a tough team to play regardless of when you play them
or what the circumstances are,” Hernandez said. “With the slow start that we
had last year, everybody is expecting us to really pick it up and have a better