John returns to FC Dallas to "win championships"
It turned out to be the sure thing that wasn’t.
Spawning confusion on both sides of the pond, FC Dallas center back
George John rejoined his MLS club on Monday in Seattle after failing to
reach an agreement with English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers.
John spent all of last week in Europe gathering his Greek ID and
negotiating with the Lancashire team, and it seemed certain he'd be
joining Blackburn before the European transfer window closed on
Wednesday. But on Sunday morning, FC Dallas announced that the
24-year-old would be returning to the US to finish out the MLS season.
John wouldn’t pinpoint where the two sides stalled in contract
negotiations after training with FC Dallas in Seattle ahead of their US
Open Cup semifinal on Tuesday (9 pm CT, watch LIVE here).
“I got over there and it was a really good experience,” John told
MLSsoccer.com by phone Monday evening. “They welcomed me with open arms
and it’s just that the timing wasn’t right. We are going to maintain a
relationship and right now I’m back with FC Dallas.”
Head coach Schellas Hyndman spoke with John about the Blackburn
discussions and while failing to get into specifics, acknowledged that
the two sides were very close to finalizing something before the Aug. 31
“They really thought the deal was almost on the verge of getting
completed,” said Hyndman, “but I guess there were a couple items that
needed to be sorted out [that] just couldn’t get sorted out, and they
decided to go their separate ways.”
The next phase for John — whose contract expires after the 2012 season —
and FC Dallas is to restart contract negotiations, something that John
and his agent had foregone in the past.
“We want George to be around a long time and we want our American
players playing in the MLS,” said Hyndman.
John was more mum on the matter, stating once again, “The timing wasn’t
right with Blackburn.”
However, even after missing FC Dallas’ eventful trip to Canada and
their comeback win over Sporting Kansas City over the weekend, Hyndman
said John jumped right back into the FCD routine after meeting with the
team privately and putting his situation to rest.
“It’s been like he’s not been gone,” said Hyndman. “He met with the
whole team and he told the team that he was excited to be back and was
here to help FC Dallas win championships. ... Now if you’re a team
member, what greater words do you want to hear?”
John did not reveal what he said to the team in the private meeting
saying, “We are keeping that between the team,” but the third-year
player did mention his time with another former MLS player currently
plying his trade at Ewood Park.
“I had the opportunity to meet the coach [Steve Kean] with [former D.C.
United defender] Ryan Nelsen, the captain, and it was a good time,”
John added. “But like I said earlier, just the timing wasn’t right and
I’m looking forward to being with FC Dallas right now.”