On Tuesday, the FC Dallas players learned one of their own, Heath Pearce, was among the 30 players invited to the U.S. national team camp in advance of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. However, three FCD players and one assistant coach were also elated to see ex-FCD defender Clarence Goodson also on the list.
Goodson was the seventh-overall pick in the 2004 MLS Super Draft, and between 2004 and 2007 he played in 74 games for FCD, making 66 starts. He scored three goals, had two assists and was named FCD Defender of the Year in 2007, which was his final season in Frisco.
Since then, the former Maryland Terrapin has played for IK Start in Norway and also become a regular call-up to the national team. Now he finds himself on the cusp of playing in the World Cup, and his former teammates and assistant coach who remain with FCD couldn’t be happier.
“He’s worked really hard," FCD midfielder Dax McCarty, a teammate of Goodson’s in 2006 and 2007, said on Tuesday. "I know he’s come a long way since he was in Dallas.”
For McCarty, it’s not hard to see why Goodson’s name was on that list.
“I think he’s really grown and matured as a player since he’s been in Scandinavia, and you could really tell that in the few national team camps that I had with him that he was a very mature and cultured player," McCarty said. "He reads the game really well. He obviously has all the physical tools that you need and playing out of the back, he’s got pretty good feet for a big guy.
"He’s got everything that you need and want in a top-level defender. I’m really happy that he’s in with probably a pretty good shot to go to the World Cup.”
FCD defender Anthony Wallace was only a teammate of Goodson’s for the 2007 season, but he quickly realized how talented he was.
“Whenever he came to play, it was straight business," Wallace said. "He had a good attitude in how he went about things, and he always put in the work. I’m not surprised he’s there.”
Goalkeeper Dario Sala played with Goodson from 2005 through 2007. He also had plenty of praise for his former teammate.
“The best defender in FC Dallas history was Clarence Goodson," Sala said. "He’s a really good guy. He’s amazing with balls in the air, and he was really quick and fast. He was in the process of learning the first year he was here.”
The veteran Argentine didn’t hesitate to add that during his time with FCD, Goodson clearly made his job much easier.
“In my opinion, having him in front of me was a relief," Sala said. "I remember many, many times that he saved goals. He made it easy on balls in the air like corner kicks and free kicks. … He can also shoot the ball. He’s a tremendously smart guy.”
Current FCD assistant coach Marco Ferruzzi also remembers Goodson well. Ferruzzi coached him from 2005 through 2007, serving on the staffs of former coaches Colin Clarke and Steve Morrow.
"You always want to see players continue their trajectory," Ferruzzi said. "I think going over and playing with Start has really helped him a lot. He’s matured and developed a lot as a player. He’s come back and gotten national team time and he’s looked very strong in the performances that I’ve watched.
"He was always a weapon on set pieces and he had some goals. It’s how you want to see the players turn out.”
And considering that when he came to MLS, Goodson hadn’t been a defender for all that long, the FCD assistant is impressed with his progress.
“I guess it’s a little bit like Omar Gonzalez [of the Galaxy]," Ferruzzi said. "He left here as a prep as a forward and then changed to center back and did that at Maryland. [He was] a work in progress, he always had good feet and always seemed comfortable on the ball.”
Goodson’s poise also always impressed his former assistant coach.
“He wasn’t worried about taking the ball out of the air and controlling it; that always impressed me,” Ferruzzi said. “You like to see that out of your defenders, your center backs—the comfort level with the ball."
Goodson isn’t the only player on Bradley's roster with FCD ties. Forward Eddie Johnson played for FCD between 2001 and 2005, scoring 24 goals.