Dallas veteran Hernandez retires, will join coaching staff

After 15 seasons of professional soccer and four appearances in MLS Cup, league veteran Daniel Hernandez announced on Wednesday that he has turned in his cleats for a full-time coaching role with FC Dallas.

Hernandez, 36, played for five different MLS teams after making his league debut in 1998 and captained FCD to the only MLS Cup appearance in franchise history in 2010.

The Tyler, Texas, native joined FC Dallas in 2009 in a reunion with his former Southern Methodist University coach Schellas Hyndman, and FCD compiled a 34-26-29 record including 26 shutouts in games in which Hernandez played.  

PROFILE: Hernandez a natural born leader

“Being able to play out the past four seasons of my MLS career in front of my friends and family here in Dallas has been very memorable,” Hernandez said in a statement. “I am excited to start the next phase of my MLS career with FC Dallas.”

Journey to Excellence: The Daniel Hernandez story

Widely regarded as one of the league’s toughest holding midfielders, Hernandez played every minute of FC Dallas’ four playoff matches in 2010 despite suffering a torn lateral meniscus, which required postseason surgery.

Hernandez appeared in 28 games for the club in 2012 (including 22 starts), the first time the team missed the postseason in three years.

“FC Dallas appreciates all the hard work and leadership that Daniel Hernandez has demonstrated over the past four seasons,” Hyndman said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Daniel as he steps into a coaching role with the club.”

READ: FC Dallas re-sign Hernandez to three-year player/coach deal in 2011

Hernandez logged 15,105 minutes in 204 career matches in his 15 seasons in MLS. Drafted in the second round of the 1998 MLS College Draft by Los Angeles (18th overall), Hernandez played in 115 matches for the Galaxy, Tampa Bay Mutiny, New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution before joining FC Dallas.

Hernandez appeared in three MLS Cups while with the Revolution – 2002, 2006 and 2007 – but never won an MLS title during his career.

Outside of MLS competition, Hernandez also played with Necaxa, Puebla and Jaguares de Chiapas of the Mexican First Division.

On the international front, he was called into US national team camp for a friendly against El Salvador on Nov. 17, 2002, and a World Cup qualifier vs. Panama on Oct. 12, 2005, but he never earned a cap.