Thursday September 9,
On the road again:
Going from one coast to the other via a stopover in Dallas to change clothes is part of the job. Of course I had to stop in at PHP on the evening of the 8th so people wouldn’t forget who I am. Don’t think for a minute that the FCD front office crew only work from 9 to 5. I am always impressed by the dedicated individuals we have who work behind the scenes for the good of the club.
Unfortunately, the Thursday morning traffic en route to the Dallas Fort Worth airport wasn’t as cooperative as my FCD colleagues. However, when you fly with American Airlines there is always someone to accommodate the last minute arrival. My saving seraph was Sally O. What a difference, friendly, helpful American Airlines employees make to one’s travel experiences. Thank you Sally, you salvaged my trip when it could have been grounded (sorry for the traveler’s pun) before it even started. Thank goodness the actual flight was uneventful and smooth. I always appreciate it when the pilot avoids those bumps in the sky.
Friday September 10, 2010
When you fly across country it is important that the team is afforded an adjustment period to accommodate for time zones. A practice session at the host facility is always a good way to get rid of any jet lag and make sure everyone is familiar with the opponent’s venue.
While the players and coaches were at practice I scouted the 2:00 p.m. Stanford vs. UNLV at Palo Alto, CA. The game finished 2-1 for the visitors with the deciding “golden goal” scored in the first OT. In college soccer if a game is tied at the end of regulation, two 10 minute overtime periods ensue. The instant victory “golden goal rule” can be both exhilarating and devastating.
Rather than take an afternoon off, the coaching staff were busy scouting other local collegiate talent.
At 4:00 p.m. Coach Hyndman and goalkeeper coach Drew Keeshan watched the St. Mary’s at CAL match-up which ended in another OT 2-1 victory for the visitors. Assistant coaches, John Ellinger and Marco Ferruzzi scouted the UC Davis vs. SAC State game that started at 5:00 p.m. SAC State won 2-1 in regulation. Needless to say, with CA traffic, all of us had a long day.
Saturday September 11, 2010
While the team prepared for the game against San Jose, I followed the seemingly endless traffic heading in to San Francisco to watch the University of San Francisco play Cal State Bakersfield. A disappointing result for the home team as USF lost the 2:00 p.m. contest 0-2.
Another hour plus car journey meant I was able to make it back in time to watch the FCD game at Santa Clara University’s soccer stadium. Once again when we visit other venues the players certainly appreciate what we have at Pizza Hut Park. I don’t think I have ever been in such a small visiting team locker room. The coaches basically used a hallway to change and ready themselves for the game. I am sure San Jose can’t wait until they have their own soccer specific stadium.
Whereas we would have liked all three points, this was another worthwhile tie on the road. The non-losing streak continues and to achieve it with so many starters out says a lot for the character of this team. Obviously the guys were in good form for their post game meal at the team’s hotel. Post game meals are always an interesting challenge for professional teams on the road. Try finding somewhere to eat at 10 pm and a place that will serve 18 very hungry athletes that last ate four hours before a 7 p.m. kick-off. Again it is all part of the professional planning that goes into making sure our FC Dallas players are taken care of properly.
Sunday September 12, 2010
An early departure for the team as they boarded the bus at 8:00 a.m. for the airport. With a 10:20 return flight to Dallas the players will be able to spend Sunday evening with their families. For Coach Keeshan and me it was another day on collegiate scouting. Drew watched the CAL – UNLV game at CAL before catching an evening flight out of San Francisco. I on the other hand took in the Stanford – SAC State game in Palo Alto. This game went back and forth with SAC State sealing a 1-0 victory with 18 seconds left in regulation. The 6 p.m. kick-off meant it was late before I made it back to the hotel in San Jose. As I scout games all over the country, it is evident from the interest in these games that collegiate soccer is alive and well. This can only be good for the development of our sport and of course an alternative means to identify potential talent for FCD.
Monday September 13, 2010
No rest for the weary. A 4:45 a.m. departure from the hotel for a 6:20 American Airlines flight back to Dallas is the price to pay. Nonetheless, it makes your morning when the gate agent, who recognized the FC Dallas badge on my shirt, says, “The team left yesterday. They were a really nice group.” It is satisfying to know we are doing something right when the team is winning on the field and collecting admirers off the pitch.
Two home games coming up, I hope to see a lot of fans at Pizza Hut Park.
Thursday September 9,