FRISCO, Texas — The state of Texas has long been known as the birthplace of the modern oil industry. In the comfy confines of Pizza Hut Park, FC Dallas may have struck the jackpot on soccer talent.
To date, the club has signed an MLS-record six Home Grown players, including Mexico U-17 World Cup champion goalkeeper Richard Sánchez.
Add in Colombian Under-20 forward Fabián Castillo, US national-teamers Brek Shea and defender Zach Loyd and George John’s final step of finishing paperwork with Premier League side Blackburn Rovers, and technical director Barry Gorman has his hands full dealing with inquiries from clubs both domestic and foreign.
“It’s gotten really busy because of our teams success and this has been the situation since last year,” said Gorman, adding that he receives a text, phone call or e-mail every day about player availability. “The more successful we are, the more people want our players. And it’s not just over overseas, it’s internally in the league."
As the club develops young promising players from both the MLS SuperDraft and its academy, FC Dallas and MLS must discuss the attitude of selling vs. keeping their players.
Gorman noted a particular local meeting with league officials in 2010 to discuss the FC Dallas player development philosophy.
“They met with Schellas [Hyndman] and myself and that was one of the big questions,” said Gorman, who formerly served as the head coach at Penn State. “Are we developing players to sell on or are we developing players to play for FC Dallas?
“There has to be a happy medium. Obviously when an English Premier League team comes calling, or if it’s a Barcelona or Inter Milan, you have to listen. And from the players’ point of view, they have dreams as well.”
Enter Shea into the transfer conversation. After registering five goals and four assists during the 2010 campaign, the versatile attacker has emerged as one of the league’s top young offensive players, scoring 10 goals and one assist thus far this season.
He recently demonstrated his skills on the national-team level, tallying his first assist in the US’ 1-1 draw with Mexico earlier this month.
On Thursday, Shea again joined Loyd on Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster for friendlies against Costa Rica and Belgium.
“Big clubs have had Brek Shea on their radar for a while,” Gorman said. “But now that’s a case of, where is that window when he’s too young? When he’s too old? And that will probably happen in the next year or two or three, who knows?”
In regards to Shea’s new contract extension that has him in a Dallas uniform through 2015, Gorman said, “The bigger the club, they aren’t going to worry about that … that gets sorted out very quickly if they want him.”
With center back John, a third-year player from the University of Washington who played midfield for the Huskies, Gorman has seen strides of improvement since he first came to MLS in 2009.
“I think George John has improved tremendously since he came into the league and I think our coaching staff here have to take a lot of credit in that,” he said. “He is definitely on his way up and he’s maturing and he’s handling the situation.”
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached on Twitter: @robertmcasner