Hernandez is the FC Dallas ironman
FRISCO, Texas – He may have turned 34 and has reached a decade of service in MLS, but FC Dallas captain Daniel Hernandez isn't any less tough or durable. The veteran holding midfielder is one of only five position players in the league to play every minute of every game in 2010.
The Texas native, who rejoined his former college coach Schellas Hyndman at FC Dallas last fall, admits the stat even surprises him.
“I don’t think I’ve actually had a season [in his career] where I’ve played every minute," Hernandez said. “From the beginning of the relationship I had with Schellas, having that confidence is the key. People don’t realize how much that helps. I go out, think about my job, what I’m supposed to do on the field and don’t worry about anything else.”
His durability and tenacity were just two reasons why Hyndman named the seasoned midfielder his club captain prior to this season. But even the FCD manager couldn’t have guessed he would play every minute this year.
“I think he plays a position on the field that you underestimate,” Hyndman said. “He’s the glue of our defense. He stops the opponent’s No. 10 or a striker that’s stepping back in the midfield.
"He’s very courageous. He competes for almost every ball and he’s a great distributor of the ball. He has a strong leg with which he can change the point of attack.”
Originally a second-round pick by the LA Galaxy in 1998 out of SMU, Hernandez played for Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, New York and New England between 1998 and 2003. In ’03, he left the Revs for his first taste of the Mexican first division with Necaxa.
After returning to the Revs once again and helping them to a runner-up finish at MLS Cup 2006, Hernandez went back for a second try in Mexico, where he grew as a professional.
“I don’t think it was until I went to Mexico that I realized what it took to really concentrate on working after practice and looking after yourself," Hernandez said. "Over the years, I’ve learned that you have to take care of your body. You have to work not just in practice with the team but after. There are always people working after practice and doing extra work, so you’ve got to keep up.”
Those lessons from Mexico have fueled his longevity, as he anchors one of the best teams in the league while serving as one of its elder statesmen.
“I really feel good. I don’t feel tired,” Hernandez said. “I feel very healthy. I don’t have any major injuries. I’ve had a couple of knocks here and there but nothing major. Hopefully, I can continue to be blessed and healthy the rest of the season. We still have a long way to go but I feel part of my toughness probably helps and the mental toughness does as well.”