FRISCO, Texas -- It might be a gross understatement to say that Craig Hill knows FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman quite well. After all, Hyndman recruited the young goalkeeper from San Antonio to play for him at Southern Methodist University.
After Hill redshirted in 2006 as a true freshman, he spent his freshman and sophomore seasons playing under Hyndman for the Mustangs.
In 2008, Hyndman left SMU to coach FCD. Some two years later, Hill will reunite with his former coach after Dallas took him with the 53rd pick of the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft on Tuesday.
“I’m very excited,” Hill told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “It’s a great opportunity for me to do what I’ve always wanted to do, play professionally.”
As a senior, Hill was 16-2-2 with four shutouts and a goals-against average of 1.06. He played 20 games for SMU, who came within one game of reaching the College Cup for the first time since 2005, losing to North Carolina in penalty kicks in the round of eight.
[inline_node:326938]Hill is one of four members of that team who will get a shot in MLS. Defender Leone Cruz went to the Seattle Sounders in last week’s SuperDraft, midfielder Kekoa Osorio was taken by FCD with the 35th pick in the Supplemental Draft and ex-Mustangs midfielder Josue Soto signed with the Houston Dynamo as a Home Grown player earlier this week.
“I think it speaks loudly for the program there at SMU and the kind of players they do recruit,” Hill said. “It’s great that we have all these people getting chances. I think it’s great for our program.”
The young goalkeeper admits it will be nice to have Osorio joining him in Frisco as the two go through preseason training with FCD. On top of that, Hill will also be playing alongside Bruno Guarda, who played at SMU from 2005 through 2007.
With Dallas’ preseason under two weeks away, Hill already knows what to expect when he goes back under the direction of his former coach.
“It’s nice to be able to go into an environment where you know the head coach. It makes it less unnerving to go play under him again,” Hill said. “I know what his expectations are and have a feeling of how he likes to do things. … I am expecting preseason to be pretty tough, and I’m just trying to go in there and do my best.”
FCD have two pretty solid keepers in league fixture Kevin Hartman and up-and-comer Chris Seitz, and Hill looks forward to learning all he can as their understudy.
“I think it will be great to have that kind of experience around me, to be able to go to a place where they have goalkeepers who have the experience that they do,” said Hill. “It will be great to see how they play, to pick up things here … and just become a better soccer player.”