How a Chance Encounter in Arizona Led Assistant Coach Mikey Varas to Texas and Luchi Gonzalez's Staff

FRISCO - A chance encounter in any aspect of life can alter its very trajectory going forward.

Nearly six years ago, it’s how Mikey Varas first crossed paths with Luchi Gonzalez and nearly six years later, it’s how the 36-year-old ultimately finds himself as part of Gonzalez’s MLS coaching staff.

Just months into his FC Dallas Academy tenure in 2013, Gonzalez went to an "A" License coaching course in Casa Grande, Arizona. U.S. Soccer, by chance, booked Varas - a club coach in California at the time - as his roommate. The duo had never met but over the course of several days in the desert, Varas says, something clicked as the two realized they viewed the game and coaching in a very similar light.

“The first little bit was pleasantries and then at these courses they have you play on the first day where the instructors demonstrate how to coach a session. We both volunteered to play and got paired on the same team and that’s where it all started,” Varas said. “We came back and got to talking and he told me about his background, how played at SMU and that he coached at FC Dallas. I looked him up and I realized he won the Hermann Trophy and was like, 'Oh wow. This guy was a big time college player.'”

“We always joke that it was a coincidence and a cheesy way to allow us to connect,” Gonzalez said. “What's funny is as the week went on, if there's anyone that I would've connected with in terms of similar methodology, philosophy, training exercises, taste in things that are not soccer - I would've connected with him in that way no matter what. He just so happened to be my roommate.”

As the week wrapped up, Gonzalez told Varas, “‘If I ever have a chance, I want to bring you to FC Dallas.’”

“If he wasn't my roommate, maybe we would've had a mutual respect or a distant connection or relationship, but I don't know if it would've been enough that would've given me the certainty and the conviction to be very clear that I wanted to work with him one day,” Gonzalez said. “Being roommates allowed us to have an extra connection so that I was convinced that one day I'm going to work with this guy.”

It took nearly five years, but the new FC Dallas head coach made true on his aspiration in the summer of 2017, bringing Varas from his position in Sacramento Republic FC’s Academy to head up the U-16 team in Frisco.

“Luchi called me while I was at Sacramento and he mentioned that there was an opportunity at FC Dallas,” Varas said. “I talked it over with my wife and with Sacramento and we decided to make the jump over. I’d heard so many positive things and there were so many things that I felt personally aligned with with the club and with Luchi.”

Not even 18 months later, the duo are finalizing their plans for the first preseason at the helm of the first team, while still remembering how fate first crossed their paths in the middle of Arizona.

"In selecting the coaching staff, Mikey was a no-brainer [because of our similarities]," Gonzalez said. "I didn't need to look outside the club, I knew we had the people here inside."

“I can’t stop believing that it all happened that way,” Varas said. “Almost five years passed and I never thought about it again until he called. Now we’re here.”

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