Q&A with defender Greg Vanney
Newly acquired defender Greg Vanney was recently asked about his decision to leave France, his thoughts on being a leader on this team and what he can bring to
FC Dallas in 2005.
FCdallas.net: What was the thought process that led to your departure from FC Bastia in France and your arrival with FC Dallas?
Greg Vanney: "There were a number of reasons behind my departure from Bastia. I was looking to leave France for around a year and a half. My wife and I figured that this was a good time to come back to the U.S. The club was having trouble financially and is in danger of going to the second division. It's been difficult to get me into national team camps because of the strenuous travel as well. With the qualification matches coming up, this is an important time. We were also a little tired of living on an island and just being in our house and not doing much over there. My daughter is now 11 months and is getting to that age where she needs to be interacting with other children. So, family and professional reasons led to the decision to come back and play for FC Dallas."
FCdallas.net: The coaching staff and other players have already spoken about your leadership. Is it hard for you to come into a new group and immediately be counted on to be a leader?
GV: "No, I don't think that's going to be too tough. I know some of the guys already and the players I don't know seem to be guys that are seeking leadership. The younger players can now concentrate more on their game. I will step in and assume the responsibility of leading right away. With my experience, I don't have to necessarily be concerned about myself, but it's more me trying to organize the guys around me. I think I take a little of the burden off of those guys. Over my few days talking to my new teammates, they seem to be open to my opinions and the way I like to do things. It's a role I had in Los Angeles before I left. I'm already really enjoying it. My personality isn't harsh with these guys. It's more me trying to instruct and help out where I can. Basically, just back up what the coaching staff is trying to get across."
FCdallas.net: Which players on this team do you already know and which players are you excited to play with in 2005?
GV: "I know Richard Mulrooney from before with national team camps and playing against him. It will be fun to play with him. Scott Garlick and I grew up together in Arizona, but we didn't really know each other until our high school years. I lived with Jeff Cassar in college for one year when I went to Florida International my first year before transferring to UCLA. Eddie Johnson is a guy I have known from recent U.S. camps. Obviously, I know Steve Jolley from Los Angeles. I know Oscar Pareja, just from playing against him and the same with Bobby Rhine. The rest of the guys are so young that they have probably come into the league after I left. It seems like a great group of guys that are excited about the upcoming season and are ready to work."
FCdallas.net: There has been talk about you playing center back on this team. Do you have any preferences on where you like to play on the back end?
GV: "Not really; it usually differs depending on the circumstances. In a situation like this, we have such a young back line that I think it would suit the team better if I were playing in the middle. It's tough to lead the back group playing on the outside, which is one of the reasons I didn't have that type of responsibility in France. It's really the responsibility of the center backs to control the play and make sure everybody is organized. There are things that I will miss about playing on the outside - getting up and down the field and being part of the attack."
FCdallas.net: You arrive to a team that has missed the playoffs the past two seasons, yet you appeared in the playoffs in all six seasons with Los Angeles from 1996-2001. With that being said, what are your goals for the team this season?
GV: "My goals are to win a championship. I believe we have more than a good enough team to make the playoffs. If we don't make the playoffs, it would be tragic. We are talented enough and have good enough players to do some great things this season. We just need to have the right mentality all season long. I think our goal has to be to win the championship. It's in Frisco [Texas] and in our own backyard and that's what we're shooting for. Anything less then that and we would be selling ourselves short."
FCdallas.net: Are you excited about playing for the FC Dallas fans that used to cheer against you during your tenure in Los Angeles?
GV: "Yes, sure I'm excited to be on their side. This is a great time to be part of this organization. Hopefully, we can keep the fans that we have had in Dallas and make some new ones with the stadium in Frisco and the exciting players that are on this team. Once we round up our team completely, which I think will happen over the next few weeks, then we will do our best to fill up the new stadium with an exciting product on the field that will get the fans pumped up to cheer for."