FRISCO, Texas – Tonight Matt Hedges will surpass Jason Kreis as FC Dallas’ all-time MLS appearance record-holder, further cementing his place as one of – if not the – greatest players in club history.
Today's game against the Houston Dynamo will be Hedges' 248th MLS game in FCD colors, breaking Kreis’ record which stood for over a decade and a half. While he knew the milestone was looming, the ever-humble Hedges was predictably modest on the eve of the achievement.
“I haven’t really thought about it too much,” the 30-year-old said. “My parents and my wife have brought it up to me, so I knew it was coming up but it’s weird—it feels like I haven’t been here long enough to hold a record like that. There’s not too many feelings or emotions like that, I just want to go out and help the team as best I can. I’m glad I’ve been able to do that for so long.”
Hedges’ eight full seasons in Dallas are rightfully decorated: Three All-Star games, two MLS Best XIs, one MLS Defender of the Year, and an Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield to boot.
His tenure with club has also spanned three coaches beginning with Schellas Hyndman, who drafted him in 2012 after a standout collegiate career with Butler University and North Carolina. But it was under Óscar Pareja where Hedges truly blossomed as one of the league’s best defenders. The Colombian named him FC Dallas’ youngest-ever captain in 2014 and the above awards soon followed. Now, under Luchi Gonzalez, Hedges has morphed into a calm, ball-playing center back who acts as both a defensive rock as well as the first outlet to the attack.
It’s a testament to his adaptability that Hedges been such a crucial piece of three very different teams.
“I think it’s helped me a lot because all three of the coaches have a different style that they wanted to play,” he said. “I’ve had to adapt to what they wanted out of the center backs. It’s given me a lot of different skills to improve my game. I mean with my feet, with my reading of the game—I think having those different coaches and those different styles was very helpful.”
Now in his 9th season with FC Dallas, Hedges shows no signs of slowing down and feels he could see out his career with the club. After all, there’s still one thing missing.
“Obviously you want to win the MLS Cup; that’s the big one. It’s never happened here before and it would be amazing if I was able to do it.
“I can absolutely see that (retiring in Dallas) happening. It’s been my home for almost 10 years, I love being at this club, I love playing here. I have a contract right now that’s a few more years and – you know – we’ll see what happens after that but hopefully I can stay here for my whole career.”