Dello-Russo parlays MLS into Terps gig

Ex-FC Dallas player returns to UM as an assistant


Photo Credit: 
Paul Giamou/Getty Images

In three years with FC Dallas, Michael Dello-Russo
didn’t see much playing time. He played in 11 games, starting just four for
FCD, the club that selected him in the fourth round of the 2006 MLS Super

Last summer, he was released and made his way down to
Austin where he played for the Aztex. The Maryland native then headed back home
to play indoor for the Baltimore Blast, when he heard from his college coach,
Sasho Cirovski from the University of Maryland.

The Terrapins were about to have at least one coaching
vacancy heading into the 2010 season and Cirovski was gauging his former
captain’s interest in such a position. The 26-year-old Dello-Russo, who was a
key member of Maryland’s 2005 national championship team, joined the Terps in
January and is now enjoying his first coaching gig on his return to his alma
mater. Tell us about your new gig.

Dello-Russo: It’s something I always wanted to do. The timing
couldn’t be any better actually. When I went down to Austin, I enjoyed myself
but I was ready to move on and kind of settle down. Have you officially hung up your spikes or do you
still play a bit?

Dello-Russo: No, I hung it up. I’m playing just for fun now, which I love.
I’m just playing with my boys and on some men’s league teams and I love it. How did this process start for you going back to the

Dello-Russo: I came back here to play on the indoor team, the
Blast, so I was around here. Sasho [Cirovski] and I are both from Columbia
[Maryland], so I’ve known him since I was 12. He just called me one day and
asked me to meet him at his seven-year-old daughter’s soccer game. We met there
and he wanted to see where I was at with everything because of the potential of
both of them leaving, the other coaches or the potential of one of them leaving
and him bringing me on. So it kind of happened at a little soccer field
somewhere. He reached out to me and things fell into place. That’s what
happened basically. How long have you wanted to get into coaching?

Dello-Russo: Everyone always kids because when I went to school
here, everyone thought I would come back, with Sasho and all that. They all
knew that was what I was going to do. It was something I always thought about,
but I never knew. This is one of the only coaching jobs I would take. So it was
nice for it to come about. You had three different coaches during your time with
FCD. Do you draw from all three in developing your own coaching style?

Dello-Russo: I take a lot from Steve [Morrow] because he taught me
a lot of defensive principles of the game. I feel like I’ve really been able to
take what he taught me and help the boys out with all that. Schellas [Hyndman]
came from college… Just taking from him his player management with college
players was helpful. How much do you miss playing?

Dello-Russo: I miss playing in Dallas. I enjoyed playing in Dallas
but I didn’t want to go around and bounce from team-to-team. I actually get my
fix of playing here. I train with the boys every day. I play in a men’s league,
which is semi-competitive but it’s really just for fun. I get my total fix of
playing. I enjoy it a lot. I coach a couple of club teams and will jump in and
play with them. I feel like I really haven’t missed a beat with anything. Since it hasn’t been that long since you played in
College Park, are you somewhat of a conduit between the players and the head

Dello-Russo: It’s funny because one of the boys on the team, I
went to school with. He was a freshman when I was a junior and he’s gotten a double
redshirt. He’s here for his sixth year. It’s nice because that’s kind of the
role I took when I was here. I was the captain for two years, so I was always
kind of that middle man between the players and Sasho. It’s been an easy
transition for me. I know the boys and knew them before coming in because it’s
my alma mater. I followed them all the time and I came back and hung out with
them before. It’s definitely been a very easy transition. Which of your former FCD teammates do you still keep
in contact with?

Dello-Russo: I talk to Dax [McCarty. I talk to Pablo [Richetti].
He’s in Dallas. When I came back in town, I hung out with Eric [Avila]. I still
stay in touch with [assistant coach John] Ellinger. I came out for Dallas Cup
and he was trying to get me to play golf one morning instead of watching games.