Matt Kopil

Q&A: FC Dallas technical director Barry Gorman

The moment Barry Gorman was hired as FC Dallas’ first technical director in mid-April, the ex-Penn State coach hit the ground running. He spent several weeks in May in South America scouting players in Brazil, and brought FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman back a list of players the team was considering. One, Brazilian right back Jackson, came to Frisco on trial in early June during the MLS World Cup break.

Since then, Gorman has remained stateside, but his workload hasn’t lessened a bit. He spoke with Steve Hunt of MLSsoccer.com about what’s on his plate and how it will affect FC Dallas’ future.

MLSsoccer.com: Where will your next scouting trip be?

BG: Basically, it’s a matter of trying to fit in a trip to Argentina. Looking at doing kind of double duty there, going down to look at some pro players and also going down to see how our FC Dallas group does with the Under-18 national team in Buenos Aires and neighboring places.

MLSsoccer.com: What do you look for specifically in a prospective player?

BG: We’re looking at trying to find specific needs for FC Dallas. We’re trying to map out a plan and trying to get a plan of action that takes us forward with everything that will come in from our juniors, right up to our pro team.

When I make these kinds of trips, it’s more for finding a specific talent in a crucial area. We’re trying to find a situation where we have two players at each position-quality, talented players that will allow us time to develop our homegrown talent.

I’m looking in a player for five things. It’s basically what I term the five “S’s.” First and foremost, we’re looking for speed. We’re looking for strength, and I should qualify that by saying we’re looking for mental strength as well as physical strength. Then, we’re looking for size. When I say that, everybody starts thinking about the 6-foot-6 monster and so on. It’s not necessarily that. It’s, “what’s the package size? What are we getting?” Of course, we’re looking for the soccer savvy. We want to make sure that they have a soccer brain.

Character-that is a big, big component of what we’re trying to put together here. I think Schellas is doing a fabulous job of getting the chemistry right in the group. Players like Daniel Hernandez and Ugo (Ihemelu) are helping create that in the locker room. They’ve got a group that is together and want to go out and play for each other.

MLSsoccer.com: FC Dallas recently hired a college director. How does he fit into the organizational structure?

BG: Basically Scott Diamond is going to be advising a lot of our youth and junior players in terms of what courses to take. We have a plan for every kid that we’re going to be identifying coming through into our academy, our Under-16s and Under-18s, and we want to have two routes for these kids. One route is for the kid that wants to go straight through to the professional team so that we’re going to be taking care of their education at the same time. It’s just probably sitting with those kids and saying, “OK, you want to do this but we want to make sure you get something to fall back on for whatever reason if the pro thing doesn’t work out.’” So, we’re talking to them about taking classes and what kind of program that would be.

Then you have the kid who might go to college or wants to go to college. Their family wants them to get an education. We don’t want to lose those guys or have them leave and then be able to not return to us. So, Scott will be working with the younger kids to tell them if they take these kinds of courses in high school, then they’re going to go into college and get credit for those already. So they could be graduating in three-and-a-half years and still be able to come back to us because they’ve been trained in our youth academy programs and they know what’s required of a positional player.

MLSsoccer.com: Is the club close to signing young forward Ruben Luna to a contract?

BG: It’s a top priority and we’re working very hard on that. I can say at this time that there is major light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not just a faint glow. It’s a bright light and we’re hoping that in the next few days or couple of weeks, we’re going to have a major announcement on that.

We’re getting very, very close. Ruben, we’re very high on here. Schellas is very high on him. Hopefully (we’ll see him) not only in an FC Dallas uniform but on the field as well. We’re very high on him and a lot of people are. I think you know we’ve got a natural goal scorer in Ruben and have got a diamond waiting to be polished.

MLSsoccer.com: What do you see the team’s biggest need being at this moment?

BG: We need someone that’s going to spark us to start scoring goals. From sitting back and looking at it, we’re playing as well as any team in this league. If we had the goal scoring touch at the moment, people would be 100 percent in agreement there. If Jeff Cunningham starts to hit, Milton Rodriguez comes in, he is scoring regularly in practice in difficult situations. He’s putting the ball away and that becomes contagious. I think you’ll find other people will start to knock in the goals.