Clarke returns from South America

FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke is back in the United States after returning from an eight-day scouting trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. He went to South America to see a few players that the team has their eyes on right now. Although he wouldn't elaborate too much on the players he scouted, he did say that there are a few options the team is seriously considering.

"My purpose for going down there was to look for players that can help this team," said Clarke. "Whether I fulfill that purpose or not I don't know yet, but there are a couple of very good options that are in the early stages. If one of those options work out, then it would have been a successful trip."

During his trip, Clarke noticed the excitement that filled the stands at each match he attended. With the conclusion of the soccer season in Argentina, there were several desperate teams vying for a championship in their respective leagues. The timing for finding out what a particular player is made of was perfect for the FC Dallas head coach. He liked what he saw in the players from South America as they brought everything they had to each match.

"The passion of the game in South America is very similar to back in Europe," said Clarke. "In some cases, the passion may even be more down there. I watched quite a few games from first division and second division, and it was a great time to go down there because it was right at the end of their season and the championship was up for grabs. The championship in the second division was just as exciting as the one for the premier league. It was fun to watch."

After leading the 2004 Dallas Burn to the biggest improvement in MLS from the previous season, Clarke believes his team will take it to another level in 2005. His scouting trips have one mission in mind and that is to find players that will make FC Dallas a better soccer team. Whether that player is European, Hispanic, American or Scandinavian, it doesn't matter to Clarke as long as the player brings the right attitude each day to the field.

"We're looking to put good players on the field," said Clarke. "I want to play good soccer, score goals and win games. I'm not too worried where they come from as long as they can play the game and play it well. I want my players to have a passion for soccer and a passion for playing in Dallas."

FC Dallas has two allocations remaining, one from missing the playoffs last season and one from the Freddy Adu deal prior to the 2004 SuperDraft. Although it was plain to see that Clarke liked what he saw in South America, there is still a lot of work to do before an allocation is used on a discovery player. Despite not getting into specifics about the players he was scouting, Clarke briefly mentioned what kind of player he was looking for. Maybe somebody to play up alongside FC Dallas star Eddie Johnson?

"I was looking for offensive players, strikers mainly," said Clarke. "At the end of the day, the league will negotiate the contract and we will give them our guidelines on what we feel the players' worth is and what we can afford to spend. There is a long way to go before a player gets here and gets signed."


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