Trialist Edward in Dallas' good graces

Rookie defender shows potential to stick with FCD

With the roster cutdown day two weeks away, the time for many trialists
to make MLS rosters is growing ever shorter. But one who remains with FC
Dallas is defender Edson Edward, who came to the club following a solid
career at NAIA school Graceland University.

A 6-0 native of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Edward was an all-conference
performer in college, where he played predominantly at center back. He
played a similar role in FCD's first few preseason matches before
shifting over to right back in the last couple of weeks.

His last preseason action came on Sunday when he played the final 34
minutes of a 1-0 loss to Florida International.

"(He's) another player who has done pretty well for us. ... He's very
athletic and very strong," FCD coach Schellas Hyndman said. "He seems to
be improving in this environment, which is a great help."

Edward has only been with the club for a few weeks but has enjoyed his
time to date with FCD.

"It's been a fabulous experience. All the guys in the locker room have
been really cool and easy to relate to," he said. "They've welcomed in
all the new guys with open arms. I just really like the environment from
the players to the coaches. It's been easy getting along with
everyone."

Players at Division I level generally struggle with the jump to MLS, a
jump that could be even bigger between NAIA and MLS.

"Just the speed of play (is the biggest difference) because in NAIA,
typically the players are talented but here, you have the talented
players and you don't have as much time on the ball, so your thought
process has to be a lot quicker," he said.

Edward is likely battling with fellow trialist Steve Purdy for the final
roster spot on defense. Purdy spent most of 2009 with FCD but was
injured for much of the year before being released late in the year.

While his time with FCD has been short, Edward definitely feels like he
continues to improve with each practice and game.

"Yeah, every day, confidence builds as I get to know the players and the
game better," Edward said. "I feel like every day I get better as we go
on."

Like any of his fellow trialists, he can't help but continually wonder
what his chances are of making Hyndman's roster.

"It's funny. It changes every day pretty much," Edward said. "Some days,
you feel better than others but I think I'm right up there in the
competition. I'm just going to give it my all and hope for the best."

Since he spent his college career in the middle, playing out wide and
taking on a larger role in the attack is clearly an adjustment.

"In college, I was a center back most of the time but here, I'm more of
an outside back. I'm pretty confident with the ball and going forward,
but if there is one part of my game that I want to work on it is my
service," he admitted. "I don't think that is a problem but it could use
some help."

That shift to the right flank has also caused him to change his frame of
mind.

"Just going forward with the ball more and trying to find the best
possible option up top (have been the biggest adjustments) because
normally at center back, you find the wingers and they do that job," he
said. "I'm trying to adjust to getting the ball, opening up as quickly
as possible and finding either the forward's feet or the flank."

Edward isn't the only Graceland product who has played in MLS. Kevin
Souter was a midfielder for Kansas City, appearing in eight games over
the last two years.

"I kind of had a brief understanding of what it would take and how to
adjust per se. I talked to a lot of people before coming here," Edward
said. "So I think I was quite prepared for what to expect but nothing
has been too overwhelming for me."

Still, there has been one FCD veteran who has helped make his transition
an especially smooth one.

"I think Daniel Hernandez has been a really good help. When we practice
and in games, he's always talking to me and always giving me
constructive criticism, letting me know what I can do better and letting
me know when I do something right," Edward said. "He's been a really
good leader in my eyes. He doesn't just help me. He helps everyone out
pretty well."

For Edward, part of the battle has already been won -- gaining the
notice of the FCD coaches. Now he has to come out every day with the aim
of realizing his dream and a place in Major League Soccer.

"I realize that if you don't perform, then you won't get a spot on the
team. Coming to Florida, I kind of put a little pressure on myself to
lift my game and to be the best player I can be," he said. "I think I'm
also trying to play it simple and be the player that got me here in the
first place."