FC Dallas names Oscar Pareja head coach

Club icon makes highly-anticipated return to Dallas

FRISCO, Texas – Former Dallas standout and fan favorite Oscar Pareja is returning to Texas as head coach of FC Dallas, the club announced today.

“We are thrilled to welcome Oscar back to FC Dallas as head coach," FC Dallas Chairman Clark Hunt said. “In addition to his stellar career as a player in our league, Oscar has an outstanding track record of success as a coach at every level of MLS. After an extensive search process, we concluded that Oscar’s experience, teaching ability, personal integrity and passion for our club make him the ideal choice to lead FC Dallas in 2014 and beyond.”

Pareja joined the Dallas Burn in August 1998. The Colombian star hung up his boots in 2005 after tallying 13 goals and 47 assists (second all-time) in a Dallas kit. He spent the next two seasons as an assistant coach for FC Dallas before joining long-time friend and former Colombian National Team teammate Wilmer Cabrera’s staff with the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team.

“I spent 14 years in Dallas and both the club and the Hunt family hold a special place in my heart,” said Pareja. “While I am forever grateful to the Colorado Rapids for giving me my first head coaching job in MLS, my family and I have decided to take this opportunity to get back home to Texas. I believe we can build something really special in Dallas, and I am thankful for the opportunity, and thankful to the organization, its fans and ownership for believing in me.”

In 2008, Pareja rejoined FC Dallas as Director of Player Development for the FC Dallas Youth system, a program he quickly established as one of the nation’s best.

In the 2010-2011 season, Pareja was named the U-18 Academy Coach of the Year before taking the U-18s to a runner-up finish at the national championship. U.S. Soccer rated the FC Dallas Academy best in the nation among more than 70 different clubs in 2011. In 2011, Pareja also served as an assistant coach for the FC Dallas first team and head coach of the FC Dallas Reserves.

In 2011, six years to the day after he scored his last goal as a player for FC Dallas, Pareja was inducted into the Walk of Fame alongside former teammate and friend, Bobby Rhine, who passed away unexpectedly one month before the induction.

The Colorado Rapids named Pareja head coach following the 2011 season and in two seasons, the former Dallas man went 25-30-13, orchestrating a 2013 turnaround that saw the Rapids back into the postseason and had Pareja widely featured among Coach of the Year chatter throughout the season.

“We couldn’t be happier to be bringing Oscar home to Dallas,” said Dan Hunt, vice president of Hunt Sports Group. “Oscar has been part of our FC Dallas family for more than 10 years and helped shape our youth development and academy programs into what they are today. We couldn’t imagine a better fit for our professional team and our goal of building a championship club.”

As a player, Pareja appeared in 385 games for Independiente Medellín and Deportivo Cali before joining MLS in 1998. He then played 183 games in MLS (New England and Dallas). Pareja also earned 11 caps with the Colombian National Team, scoring three goals for his country from 1991 to 1996.

The Colorado Rapids will receive a first round 2015 MLS SuperDraft pick (the second of two belonging to Dallas) and allocation money as compensation for Pareja.

Pending his return from MLS Combine and SuperDraft, Pareja will be available for his first official press conference at a date to be determined.

FC Dallas reports for 2014 preseason on Jan. 25, and will spend the following weeks preparing for the 2014 season opener against Montreal, presented by AdvoCare and slated for March 8 at Toyota Stadium.