FRISCO, Texas — Earlier this week, FC Dallas Director of Soccer Operations Marco Ferruzzi got on the phone to make a call to a former player.
He, along with head coach Luchi Gonzalez, reached out to Eric Alexander, who was just waived by FC Cincinnati on Tuesday, to express their interest in signing the player for the rest of the 2019 season.
Alexander’s first reaction from getting the call was excitement. As a free agent and with the transfer window closing soon, he didn’t want to get his hopes up of joining another club. But, when FC Dallas called, he was very encouraged by the opportunity.
The transaction is a reunion for both club and player. Alexander was selected in the third round of the 2010 MLS Superdraft by FC Dallas after playing at Indiana University for four years. Within the next two seasons, Alexander appeared in 39 matches for the club and 28 starts. He bagged two goals and three assists in that span as a midfielder, who was then traded to the Portland Timbers near the end of the 2011 campaign.
Eight years later, Alexander is back in Dallas.
“It feels great,” he said. “It was my first club that I played for, so I have a lot of good memories and ties to Dallas. Obviously, a lot has changed with what they’ve done, but I’ve always kept in touch with Marco and he’s been a good friend throughout the years. It’s just really feels welcoming and it’s a new opportunity for me and it feels great.”
One of the biggest reasons FC Dallas brought Alexander to the club is his experience on and off the pitch. He was an integral part of FCD’s 19-game unbeaten streak in 2010 en route to a MLS Cup Final.
“The idea is for [the experience] to be important,” Alexander said. “I know it’s a really young team, and I think I can provide some insight and help as far as what it takes to make that final push. Whether it’s on the field or if it’s in the locker room, getting guys ready, making sure everybody knows what it takes, I’ll do whatever they ask of me. Hopefully, I’ll be a good influence and help everybody in the final push.”
Playing in the midfield, he can be an important voice for the development of the homegrown trio of Paxton Pomykal, Brandon Servania and Edwin Cerrillo. Since he has playoff experience under his belt, he will add a mature tone to the FC Dallas squad.
When asked if he had any advice for the young players he is going to be working with, Alexander said it’s all about remembering why they started playing the sport in the first place. The rest will take care of itself.
“They’re playing the same game since they were young kids, and they can’t forget what makes them good and what makes soccer fun for them,” he said “I think that provides the most competitive environment, and it helps guys get through tough moments — just remembering why they’re doing this in the first place.”