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How FC Dallas is Utilizing Video Conferencing Tactically Amid COVID-19

FRISCO, Texas – It’s been three weeks since the initial MLS suspension and FC Dallas is beginning to settle into a new routine.  

In addition to their daily workout regime, the team is using video conferencing to stay prepared and connected while the league-wide training moratorium is in effect.

“The first two weeks we wanted to keep things simple and have the boys just working on general physically movements with and without the ball,” Luchi Gonzalez said in a conference call. “Now in week three, we wanted to get more technical and functional in terms of players’ positions. [We] re-create movements with the same speed, spacing and timing that simulate what they’re doing in an actual game. And they can do it in their own individual environments.”

To do this, the players are grouped by position and assigned game film to study on their own. Afterwards, Luchi and assistant coaches Mikey Varas and Peter Luccin connect with them in video conferences to go over the film together.

“We have them observe the clips and read the situations,” Luchi continued. “We ask the players what they thought of the movement, or timing, what do they see, what opportunity was missed, how could this have been done in an ideal way? So, we just ask them those kinds of questions to get them involved.”

Involvement is the key. The coaches are careful that these calls don’t turn into one-sided, tactical lectures.  “We want the players as engaged as possible,” said coach Varas, who mediates the calls with the midfielder group. “It’s not a video session where they’re hearing us a lot. They’re discussing, debating, and giving their input on the tactical clips.”

With social interaction at an all-time low, the face-to-face nature of these conference calls have an added benefit for players and coaches alike.  

“Group text is easy to give your input but there’s not that visual connection that connects everyone,” Varas said. “I think they [video calls] have been massive because – of course the tactical discussion is important – but the most important thing is the boys seeing the coaches, and the boys seeing each other. Being able to joke around a little before the session starts and finding a little joy and interaction with each other is huge. It’s really important for everybody at the moment.”

In a bid to increase that interaction, Luchi has added a Friday social conference call to the team’s weekly schedule.

“Just to connect and see what everyone’s doing. We might even do a like a trivia game or something, but we haven’t decided yet. Just update on how we’re doing and that’s it.”