Eye in the Sky: Feb. 28
"In Search of Talent"
Hola! Greetings from the road. As FC Dallas technical director, one of the most important functions of my job is searching the globe for quality talent that I can bring to FC Dallas. I just finished up a trip to Argentina before joining the team in Florida, and thought I'd share the details of my trip with all of you FC Dallas fans out there. It all began on a Thursday....
Thursday, Feb. 17:
The trip began with a flight from DFW to Miami.
As always, I can't thank American Airlines enough for their service to their customers...actually, considering all the trips I've gone on over the past year, I've ceased to even feel like a customer at all thanks to how they treat their travelers!
Friday, Feb. 18:
An early start to check in for my American Airlines flight from Miami to Buenos Aires -- now THIS is a long flight! I had the pleasure of sitting beside a very nice young woman who is a lawyer in San Francisco, and while you tend to meet interesting people when you travel, this young woman was different. In a million years you would not be able to guess the reason for her trip to Argentina -- she was heading there to go fly fishing. Yes, you read that one correctly, fly fishing in Argentina.
In fact, she was on her way to join a group of 11 other women to take part in a fly fishing excursion. Since I have several friends who claim to be fly fishing enthusiasts I was able to carry on a semi-intelligent conversation for at least 20 minutes of the 13 hour flight. Hopefully she'll follow the exploits of FC Dallas this season if I didn't bore her with my soccer talk once we had exhausted the fly fishing topic of conversation.
But I digress. At any rate, I finally arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina at midnight local time and was finally off to bed at 1:30 am after answering emails and catching up on
FC Dallas news.
Saturday, Feb. 19:
A 6 am wake call and I was in a taxi to Buenos Aires' domestic airport to catch a 7:30 am flight to San Juan, Argentina. If you have never experienced a domestic airport in a foreign country, don't start with that one. It was sheer wall-to-wall, line after line, mass of humanity waiting to get checked in. With 10 minutes to take-off I was still waiting to get someone to print my boarding pass so I could try and make it through security and to the gate before departure. Thank goodness, I have seen it all before and with a little maneuvering I made it -- but of course, there was no way I was checking any bag.
At any rate, the Aerolineas Argentina flight was uneventful and I did arrive in San Juan safely. The nice thing was the flight attendant noticed my FCD pin and I didn’t have to explain what FC stood for or that we played in MLS. He knew his US soccer, which wasn’t bad for a Boca fan.
San Juan is not a huge airport (see picture above), but I was able to jump in another taxi ride and ride to yet another hotel. I checked in only to find that no game ticket had been left at reception as promised, which sent me into quite a panic. Luckily the rest of the evening played out as follows:
3:45 pm: News that the game ticket had been delivered...
4:00 pm: Another taxi ride, this time to the stadium...
4:10 pm: I'm met at the stadium by police officers outfitted in riot gear. Not sure if they wanted to help me find the right entrance or just put me in a taxi and send me back to the hotel...
4:30 pm: Misdirection after misdirection, but I finally get inside the stadium, which was a major throwback to yesteryear. The fans, however, are as passionate as any I have ever been around, and they certainly add color and character to an otherwise bleak environment.
5:05 pm: Kick-off as I sit on a concrete slab that serves both as a step and a seat, but no complaints here. I watched a good game that had just about everything -- goals, cards, controversy, players sent off and talented individuals. A 3-0 victory for the home team left the vast majority of fans satisfied.
7:30 pm: Taxi back to the hotel -- who wants a 9 to 5 job when you can start at 6 am and finish at 8 pm while spending three nights in different hotels on two different continents???
Sunday, Feb. 20
Since Sunday flight options are limited, I spent the day in San Juan. Thankfully there was no shortage of soccer games on TV!
Monday, Feb. 21
A morning flight back to Buenos Aires and afternoon meetings with agents before another taxi ride back to the Aeropuerto Ministro Pistarini (Ezeiza) and an overnight flight back to the US.
Tuesday, Feb. 22
4:45 am: I arrived back in Miami.
6:40 am: Flight to Orlando
10:00 am: How about a little more soccer? I arrived just in time to catch FC Dallas practice at Disney's Wide World of Sports and spent the rest of the week there as the team trained and eventually won the tourney.
So, will any of the talent I saw in Argentina eventually take the field for FC Dallas? You'll just have to wait and see. Rest assured we are hard at work, logging miles and criss-crossing the globe looking for the right pieces to our puzzle -- pieces that we hope will lead us to an MLS Cup!