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FCD rookie adjusting to life in the pros

The life of an MLS rookie is all about one thing: adjusting. Not only do newcomers have to adjust to the rigors of playing in the professional ranks, but they also have to get acclimated to new teammates, new coaches and in most cases an entirely new city.

FC Dallas rookie forward Andrew Wiedeman, a second-round pick in the SuperDraft, is currently in the midst of making said adjustments. The Generation adidas player didn’t get much playing time in preseason as FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman evaluated a number of trialists who were in camp; however, as Hyndman trimmed his roster, Wiedeman saw his minutes increase. He had a goal last Wednesday in a 4-1 friendly win over the second-division side Austin Aztex.

“It’s definitely been an adjustment coming from college where you’re one of the better players and coming here and you’ve got to make a name for yourself,” Wiedeman told recently. “Adjusting to the physicality of the league and the speed of play are obviously the biggest things. I’ve got to be really conscious about checking my shoulders and knowing what I’m going to do with the ball next because if you’re not and just a little late on that, then you’re going to get cracked.”

Hyndman clearly sees a great deal of potential in the former Cal Golden Bear.

“Andrew is really very technical,” the FCD coach said. “He’s got good technical ability and good speed. He’s got a very good, quick release. I think the speed of the game and the physical play, those are things he’s getting more comfortable with. Decision making, that’s a key right now. I think he’ll be all right.”

Wiedeman is often part of a group of several players who stay late after training to work on their finishing, a group that includes 2009 Budweiser Golden Boot winner Jeff Cunningham.

“[Cunningham] is just really professional about what he’s doing all the time,” Weideman said. “He holds himself to a really high standard. I think that’s probably what I’ve been able to take away from him the most. We’ll be doing shooting and he’ll beat the goalie. We’ll play the first to five goals. He’ll beat the goalie and get a goal but won’t count it because it wasn’t enough in the corner. So it’s just little things like that.”

Wiedeman is one of four rookies currently on FCD’s roster. Joining him is midfielder Eric Alexander, defender/midfielder Zach Loyd and fellow striker Jason Yeisley. Of the four, only Alexander has enjoyed any playing time with the senior side, but the quartet has quickly developed a strong bond, something that helps with that one thing that cuts across every MLS rookie’s life: adjusting.

“All the rookies are really close because we’re all going through the same thing,” Wiedeman said. “At the same time, it’s more of a team thing. The team is really tight-knit.”