FRISCO, Texas - Oscar Pareja is home.
That was the overwhelming feeling inside Toyota Stadium on Tuesday morning as FC Dallas formally presented Oscar Pareja as the sixth head coach in FC Dallas franchise history.
“We said from the beginning that it was important to get it right and we believe that we have done so with Oscar,” said HSG Chairman Clark Hunt. “Oscar’s credentials are second to none. He was a tremendous player in the league for eight seasons, a fan favorite and a member of the FC Dallas Walk of Fame. He has an outstanding track record of success as a coach at every level of Major League Soccer.”
With the MLS Combine starting the day Pareja was announced as head coach and the MLS SuperDraft coming just a few days later, it’s been ten days since the club icon was officially announced as the new boss in Frisco, but that only made the ceremony that much sweeter.
“Today is Oscar Pareja’s day,” said technical director Fernando Clavijo. “I’m extremely excited. It was something we never thought in an offseason that we’d have Oscar Pareja back in Dallas. How many times do you really have the opportunity to do what you want to do in the place that you want to do it? Not many times in life and I’m extremely happy and pleased to have Oscar working back in Dallas to finish what he started.”
“It was fun because I think I had recognized every hole in the street, any bump, any turn,” Pareja told FCDTV after the press conference. “So I didn’t need the GPS for sure to come back here and see what is really familiar for me.”
Current players, team staff and local media assembled for the conference which felt more like a coming home party for Pareja rather than the first impressions you get from many new head coaches. It wasn’t a surprise given that Pareja spent 14 years with the club before returning today.
“Before he left, I told him that we would work together one day and that day came sooner than I had ever hoped or expected,” newly-named FC Dallas president Dan Hunt said on Tuesday.
For Pareja, who joked afterward about how quickly he looks to take off his suit and return to his customary warmup gear and adidas Sambas, the work now begins on turning FC Dallas back into a league powerhouse and returning to MLS Cup.
“You know from us you’ll get work. That’s all we have, nothing else. Now is where we start,” said Pareja. “We start training on Friday and making things happen because at the end of the day we understand the commitment which is huge for the community, huge for the Hunt family, huge for everyone that is involved in soccer development in the area.”