FRISCO - Zach Loyd just keeps moving up the FC Dallas record books.
The defender from Verdigris, Oklahoma drafted fifth overall by FCD out of North Carolina in 2010 needed just six seasons and change to pass club legend and head coach Oscar Pareja for third on the all-time franchise appearances chart Saturday night in the 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC.
“Did he pass me tonight?” said Pareja after the match with a laugh. “You should have told me [before the game].”
With 177 appearances, Loyd – now behind just Bobby Rhine and Jason Kreis – fittingly led the Dallas defense to a shutout on Saturday night and understands just how rare his games played accomplishment is.
“I think the biggest thing is, it’s really a blessing to be in one spot for so long,” said Loyd. “Since I’ve been in the league, the longer I’m in it the more rare it is to stay with one team for that long, so that’s been a blessing to build relationships and Dallas has become a family to me.”
In fact, only six active MLS players have more games played with just one club in the league. Loyd has perennially found himself in the top five on the team in minutes played and does it all while playing one of the cleanest defensive games in the league averaging just over two yellow cards a season.
“It’s home now. This club has given me the opportunity to grow my career here and I’m very thankful and fortunate for that and through this club I’ve also been able to play with the national team and I attribute that to the club giving me an opportunity from college,” said Loyd. “I’ve gotten to play under some really good people like Ugo [Ihemelu] and George [John], guys I’ve looked up to. I’ve been fortunate to have guys before me pour into me and also now with Oscar and Marco [Ferruzzi] who has been here with me the whole time, they continue to push me to get better.”
If Saturday’s match is any indication, Loyd has gotten even better. The 28-year-old led all players on the field with five clearances and had the second-highest completed passing percentage at 94%. However, Loyd’s contributions to the community haven’t been limited to the field. The devout Christian and his wife Casey have founded Vickery United, a soccer club devoted to serving the immigrant community of Dallas through the beautiful game.
“Off the field this is home too. I’m with Vickery three nights a week, it’s really good,” said Loyd. “God has blessed me and my family. It’s been a great ride and hopefully it continues for a long time and I can hit 400 that’d be awesome.”
Just about the only thing left, and Loyd’s main focus on the pitch, is lifting a trophy or two with the team he’s now in his seventh season with.
“Since I’ve been here we’ve been so close on so many occasions, finals, semifinals, last year western conference finals,” said Loyd. “So we’ve been almost there and it would be great to get silverware and to get that would be special. Hopefully it does come and we can lift something at the end of the year.”
“He has given his heart for this club,” said Pareja. “He’s a great example and I’m very proud of him.”