FRISCO, Texas - FC Dallas kicked off its 2024 preseason this week from The Star, the practice facility of the Dallas Cowboys. The sub-freezing temperatures in North Texas meant FCD had forego its own outdoor training fields at Toyota Soccer Center and migrate a few minutes south to the warmer confines of the Ford Center at The Star for the first few days of preseason.
After their medical testing and assessment over the weekend, Dallas players began preseason training with the dreaded Beep Test. If you don't know what the Beep Test is, imagine running back and forth for 30 minutes or so while a machine beeps at you to go faster and faster until there's a last man standing. Spanish veteran Asier Illarramendi was that last man this year, followed by North Texas SC's Diego Garcia and utility man Sam Junqua. As usual, it was the goalkeepers who called it quits first. The Beep Test is far from fun but it gives the coaching staff a good baseline of the players' fitness levels.
Paul Arriola on the Beep Test: "It's awful. It's the least fun part of the season but it's a good standard to set from the start. Now that it's over, we can kind of focus on on tactics and being ready to play and compete."
As with every preseason, there are a lot of new faces. FC Dallas' preseason roster includes 13 players who weren't on the team last year. They include SuperDraft picks (Logan Farrington, Turner Humphrey, Mads Westergren), North Texas SC players (Michael Collodi, Diego Garcia, Pedrinho, Carl Sainte, Lautaro Taboada, Alejandro Urzua) and, of course, new signings (Omar Gonzalez, Malik-Henry Scott, Tomas Pondeca, Enes Sali (who is not yet in Dallas)).
Head coach Nico Estévez on the new arrivals: "It's great. You see their mentality, they're very grateful to be to be here. They're very excited. You can hear and see they're hungry. I compare their attitude with our players from North Texas and the Academy that train with us, they always bring a lot of energy and excitement. It's great for the group."