FRISCO - When US Soccer created a U-12 division for the Development Academy, FCD knew the perfect man for the job and they didn’t have to look very far.
Former midfielder Peter Luccin has returned to the club in an official capacity, taking over as the lead U-12 coach for the new Development Academy Division along with Phil Gomez and John Gall.
“First I would like to say thank you for all the people in FC Dallas from Oscar [Pareja] to Luchi [Gonzalez] to the Hunt Family and all the people who have helped bring me back because this is my passion,” said Luccin. “I’m just happy to teach young players. My role is to help the U-12 academy team as the lead coach with Phil Gomez and John Gall. What we are looking for is to develop players so they are ready to play professional.”
The U-12 roster has 24 players who split into two teams on each matchday playing two 9-on-9 games against their opponents. While the U-16s and U-18s are obviously the teams with players closest to coming into the first team, it is at the U-12 and even younger levels where soccer minds can truly be molded into the player FCD is looking to create and that’s something that excites Luccin in this role.
“You can build something with young players. You can teach them,” said Luccin. “With professionals, it is more tactical and with the younger players is all different. We’re working more on development. I’m happy with this. I’m trying to give my best for the kids because I love spending the time with the kids because you can teach them something.”
While at the older age groups standings are kept and national champions are crowned - many times to the club right here in Frisco - at this age there are no standings and while scores are kept, that’s not at all the goal.
“We want that group to develop all-out wingers, composed backs who can play out of the back and support the attack, target forwards who are mobile and can come into the midfield or post up if they need to and midfielders who circulate the ball well with their movement,” said Academy Director Luchi Gonzalez. “The game is the game and I think the main difference is it’s really school for the U-12s. It’s education, but within that they’re still learning to compete. They’re playing to win. Maybe Peter doesn’t use the word “win” but they’re playing to win and how do they do that? They’re learning to attack, pressure, keep the ball and compete. All of that, the sum of those parts is winning.”
“With Oscar and his coaching staff, [sending players to the first team] has to be our goal first. Winning? Anyone can win,” said Luccin. “But first we are talking about development and making sure we are doing what we want and not creating robot players but giving them their own character and personality on the field.”
There are few with a better resume to teach the youngest group of FC Dallas Academy players the building blocks of how to be a professional. Spanning nearly two decades, Luccin’s career included stops at some of the biggest clubs in Europe with some of the biggest names in coaching(he said Javier Aguirre was the one who had the most impact on him). A firey and passionate player who never gave an inch, Luccin is ready to teach his love for the beautiful game to the growing youngsters at FCD.
“We are trying to teach them discipline, education and they have to know where they are playing. We all represent FC Dallas and we have to make sure we understand that,” said Luccin. “Because around the country right now FC Dallas is a big club, maybe the best one, and we have to make sure we defend that and the first goal is developing players.”