FRISCO, Texas – With the injury troubles of the past couple months, a quick glance at training may have led some to believe that head coach Schellas Hyndman discovered a way to clone his players. In reality, it was Alex Lee’s identical twin brother Justin who joined FCD morning training upon graduating from Penn State in May.
All-Montgomery County teammates at Magruder High School in Rockville, MD, brothers Justin and Alex unexpectedly split up for college, accepting scholarships at Penn State and Maryland. Alex and Justin battled each other just once on the field in their four collegiate seasons and reunited in Frisco due to a common thread in the FCD coaching staff.
“[Assistant Coach] John Ellinger is from my hometown so he knew about us,” said FCD right back Alex Lee. “He said when [Justin] graduated college to come down and train for a couple weeks and it started with that.”
Not only are Justin and Alex tough to tell apart off the field, their games closely mirror each other on the pitch as well.
“He’s very similar to Alex, not only in abilities but in athleticism and similarity in playing styles,” said Hyndman about Justin. “I think they’re both probably very good center backs that can play right back and they both seem to have a lot of good qualities that we look for.”
Both Justin and Alex made the transition from forward to defense as they progressed through their college careers, but one brother takes most of the credit for learning the defensive side of the game.
“I taught this kid the trade of right back,” Justin Lee said jokingly, or perhaps not. “I played forward up until my sophomore year and he played right back and center back, but I feel like I perfected the trade better than he did.”
With Alex having been sidelined from FC Dallas practice for weeks as he rehabs back to full fitness, don’t think the brothers haven’t discussed sending Justin out in Alex’s No. 35 jersey.
“We were talking about that,” Justin said about trading jerseys. “No one would ever know. We definitely could’ve pulled it off.”
“We’ve dealt with it our whole lives,” Alex said about growing up on the field as identical twins. “If someone says Justin, we both look. If someone says Alex, we both look.”
Coach Hyndman has certainly adopted that technique of getting their attention.
“I keep calling them by the same name,” said Hyndman. “Unfortunately, I’ve been calling them both James, but they’re still turning around.”
They’ve certainly had some practice.