FRISCO - If you didn’t tune into ESPN’s Soccer Today over the weekend (which you should never miss), FCD President Dan Hunt joined Steve Davis and Tyler Kern to talk about a variety of topics, including National Soccer Hall of Fame construction, an FCD USL team nearing fruition and summer transfers. You can catch the full episode and interview here.
Owning the Difference
While construction continues in the south end of Toyota Stadium, Hunt revealed a big commitment to the project made by he and Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt.
Last week, according to Hunt, the stakeholders signed off on the GNP - the project’s Guaranteed Maximum Price - of $55 million. That’s well over the original estimated budget of $40 million, an excess bill that the Hunts will foot personally to ensure the project is a smashing success.
“It really came down to making sure we got this right. We’re building a global landmark in Frisco, Texas. This thing will first be visually stunning, but when you’re inside of it, it takes the museum experience to the next level,” Hunt said. “You have a budget for these things, but when you look at what you would have to take away when we’re looking at what we’re doing – my brother and I talked about it a lot – this is not the right thing to do. This has to be right. We get one shot at this. So we committed to the 15 million in our partnership to contribute on top of the 40 million.”
One of the hot topics over the last few years is the need for a USL franchise to supplement the youth talents coming from the FC Dallas Academy.
The club’s relationship with current USL-affiliate OKC Energy FC has been a strong one, even signing Dallas’ first USL-contracted player through the affiliation. There is, however, a need for a second-division FCD team.
“The partnership in Oklahoma City has been good, but it’s also been a bit of a challenge…we’re bringing players back and forth, and that’s not fair to that organization too because they need to train players all week,” Hunt told the show. “We believe that having a USL team is key to our ongoing success and so we have been working on that I would say we’re much further down the road. It’s not just bringing a USL team, it’s talking venue too and whether Toyota Stadium is the right place or somewhere else in the Metroplex.”
With even more Homegrown talent on the horizon, it’s something that needs to happen sooner rather than later.
“We’re really at this tipping point of having young players, or professionals come through in mass quantity. We’ve been projecting out with our 16s and 14s teams in our academy system and a couple of those teams have as many as 8 to 10 young men we project to be professional soccer players,” Hunt said. “We’re going to wind up taking a big step in USL, it’s just a matter of where we’re going to have that team. We’re there.”
With Kellyn Acosta and Matt Hedges called in to the U.S. National Team this week, there’s always the question of depth and what moves the club looks to make in the summer transfer window quickly approaching.
“The transfer window is opening up and we’re looking at every position to be honest with you. We’ve got some trailists that will come in and we’ve been scouting hard for the last 60 to 90 days. Just trying to address what our needs are.” Hunt said. “The team is in great shape.
”Oscar and I spend a lot of time talking about the team and we’re just not quite in rhythm yet. There’s so many encouraging signs [though]…There’s no urgency, there’s no rush, we want to be thoughtful in this exercise.”