While the arrivals of players like Kenny Cooper and Raul Fernandez were met with much fanfare prior to the start of the 2013 season, it was a relatively unknown trialist, Brazilian left-back-turned-midfielder Michel, who stole headlines to perhaps have the best year of any FCD newcomer.
The 32-year-old became the first FC Dallas player not named David Ferreira since 2009 to tally at least eight assists in a season while appearing in 31 games tied for third-most on the team.
“I feel so good,” Michel told FCDallas.com last week in his rapidly-improving English. “I really wanted to make the playoffs, but it wasn’t so good in the second half of the season, but for myself I’m happy. I hope that next year we will be there at the end.”
Michel joined the squad looking for a roster spot after two years in Greece and quickly left no doubt as to whether he would be signed after impressive performances in pre-season friendlies. While he was signed to provide depth at both center back and left back, the Brazilian turned out to be a more than serviceable central midfielder, a position he hadn’t played previously as a professional.
“I got to train with [Michel] through the pre-season, so I got to see the quality he has,” said Andrew Jacobson. “He’s a great professional that understands the game very well, understands where to be and when to be places. It was nice playing next to a very tactically and technically sound player.”
The Brazilian’s trademark whipped in free kicks, corner kicks and crosses became a staple of FC Dallas games at Toyota Stadium in 2013 and after scoring the second goal of FCD’s home finale 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC, Michel pulled off his shirt and bowed to it, according to him a display of gratitude for a happy year in Texas.
“It’s hot here, but I like it. I feel at home here, the people, the staff and everything is very good here,” said Michel. “The celebration was just to say thank you very much to FC Dallas who opened the door for me. All the year the fans treated me so well. They like me here and I like everything about FC Dallas.”
The 32-year-old clearly has plenty left in the tank for another few years in Major League Soccer which he says is one of the most difficult leagues in the world to win, a goal he no doubt has in 2014.