2014 is in full swing at Toyota Stadium and on the first Monday morning of the new year, the FC Dallas Academy returned to training, but with a few extra faces.
With just a couple weeks left until the official start of 2014 preseason, many of the former FCD Academy members now signed to Homegrown contracts are joining the U-18 team for training this week including one Homegrown looking to earn a starting spot after 18 months away from the team in Central America.
“I’m just happy to be here and to be home,” Moises Hernandez told FCDallas.com after training.
With playing time at his left back position scarce, Hernandez was loaned to Guatemalan giants Comunicaciones for the second half of 2012 where he won the Guatemalan league championship playing four games in the apertura season. Hernandez impressed head coach Ronald Brenes enough for the Costa Rican to invite Moises to follow him to his new club in 2013, Deportivo Saprissa which FCD happily accepted.
The move was a step up in class and a major step up in pressure, but Hernandez was up to it making 20 appearances for the Costa Rican giants including 18 starts. Now returning to FC Dallas, the 21-year-old is older, wiser and ready to battle incumbents Jair Benitez and Michel for playing time at left back.
“I feel like firstly I changed in maturity on and off the field,” said a noticeably bigger Hernandez, much different than the rail-thin teenager that left 18 months ago. “Playing under pressure, knowing different positions and finding good spots, but also just playing under pressure with all those fans it helped me a lot.”
Indeed, the pressure-cooker of San Jose, Costa Rica will separate the men from the boys pretty quick. Playing in front of one of the most fanatical fan bases in Central America at 29-time Costa Rican champions Saprissa, Hernandez regularly played in front of huge crowds that either demanded success…or the opposite.
“It was nice just going to the rival teams with our bus, we had to have our windows shut and the shades closed because people would throw rocks at the bus and do things to scare you,” said Hernandez. “So we had security with us all the time protecting us, but it was fun though a good experience.”
Back home and in familiar surroundings, the 2014 preseason is make or break for Moises with his hometown team, but with a new found maturity and tons of first team experience, he’s ready to make his mark.
“I’m just ready for whatever comes to me. I’ve matured as a player and a person and I’m ready to take over the role this year.”