FRISCO – Zach Loyd spent part of his off-season hunting for duck, deer and hogs.
Saturday, he and his FC Dallas teammates begin their hunt for a 2013 MLS Cup championship.
The Oklahoma-native, who enjoys hunting during his down time, is entering his fourth MLS season and the defender is ready to be a mentor to the younger players on the team.
“I have the same job that the guys had when I first came in,” Loyd said. “Telling me the little things – things I have to do on the field and off the field.”
Loyd said he’s answered questions from rookies about tactics and where to be on the pitch. He’s also offered suggestions on nutrition and eating right to a player or two – the same he advice he was given when he entered the league in 2010.
The advice is more than just helpful, says Loyd. He believes it ultimately helps build team chemistry and trust.
“The closer you are as a team, the better you produce on the field,” Loyd said.
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman is expecting more from Loyd – both on and off the pitch this season. Hyndman said Loyd has been in the league long enough to be a role model for players and to help set the tone for the team.
“The expectation and hope is he takes more of a leadership role,” Hyndman said. “What he can do is add a little bit more experience to the locker room.”
Loyd said he doesn’t feel any added burden from Hyndman’s hopes for him in 2013.
Loyd believes it will be a group effort involving him and several other veterans when it comes to team leadership.
If that leadership develops and the team bonds, then Loyd says FC Dallas will be in a good place come late October.
“Make the playoffs,” Loyd said. “That’s the biggest thing for me. I want this team to be successful.”