FRISCO - Luchi Gonzalez might not be a big-name hire nationally or internationally yet, but for those around FC Dallas, there’s no more clear-cut choice to carry forth the club’s identity.
The 38-year-old has been in Frisco for nearly seven years, working his way up the internationally-acclaimed Academy system much like the Homegrown players it produces. Much like his predecessor Oscar Pareja.
Dallas’ coaching search over the last month was an exhaustive one, interviewing candidates from a range of different backgrounds and ideologies, but no one left Clark and Dan Hunt as impressed as one of their own. Dan Hunt said this week that from top to bottom, no presentation or interview was as thorough and detailed as the one Gonzalez gave for his vision of this team.
A contract was never discussed with, much less offered to, any other candidate.
Gonzalez said he hates the notion of selling himself during an interview. Instead, he simply presented what he knows, which is every corner of FC Dallas and his love for the club.
He knows the roster from either being around first-team trainings over the last several years or coaching the players himself. He knows the model set forth to harness the immense talent in the region and build a roster from within because he himself has been in charge of it. He knows success by transforming the FCD Academy into the best in the nation and an international powerhouse. He knows the culture, the history and the hunger of the club and its fans for the ultimate prize left to be won.
Luchi Gonzalez is FC Dallas through and through. You can’t get that from the outside.
During his time in the Academy, Gonzalez has coached nearly a third of the club’s active roster - and led them to success. Every Homegrown currently in Frisco is a product of an FCD Academy era with the new boss was at the helm.
The core of his back-to-back U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-16 National Championship teams? Names like Reggie Cannon, Jesus Ferreira, Paxton Pomykal, Brandon Servania and Bryan Reynolds. Jesse Gonzalez’s last Academy coach before signing as a Homegrown? It was Luchi Gonzalez’s first year at the helm of the U-18s in 2012-13.
In an offseason that’s seen the departure of some big-name veterans from the locker room, the hiring of Gonzalez confirms that Dallas is turning its eye to the next generation - on the field and off. There is no better person to lead the next generation than the person who knows its core most.
FC Dallas next season is going to be a team of warriors. Those are words directly from Gonzalez’s mouth. The clear-cut identity that he has for this team going forward - the identity that set him apart from other candidates - is one that we’ve seen him implement in the youth ranks over the last few seasons.
Gonzalez believes in dominating the game by maintaining possession and dictating the game with numbers on both sides of play. He asks a lot of the players on the pitch, but has a proven track record doing so with players already inside the first-team room.
Offensively, FCD will be a well-rounded team that can score in a methodical 20-pass build up, but also be just as capable of striking in just two passes off the counter. Look for Dallas to be organized and press high defensively to win the ball back as quickly and as far from its own goal as possible.
Both he and the club know the work is only beginning. The next few months are going to be full of growth, learning and adaptation. They would be with any new hire coming in. The hope is that the process is eased with a wide breadth of inherited knowledge, a meticulous plan and a deep love for what's in place in Frisco.
Gonzalez isn’t one to sell you on who he is today, but rather show you on the field come 2019.