FRISCO, Texas – While his FC Dallas team battles Vancouver for the final 2012 MLS Cup playoff spot, FCD technical director Fernando Clavijo is already preparing for 2013.
Clavijo just returned from a 10-day scouting trip to Argentina and Uruguay, already looking at players to improve the squad for next season.
“Right from the beginning when I arrived here, the No. 1 priority was evaluating what we had here in camp and then trying to improve it,” Clavijo told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “Regardless of how the team does during the season, I need to identify players to provide the coach with opportunities and options in different positions.”
Clavijo attended nine games in 10 days across the first and second divisions of Argentina and Uruguay, with a specific eye on around 15 different players that FCD have targeted.
Much like they have done with Fabián Castillo and their national-champion youth academy, Clavijo headed to South America with a specific intention of looking for younger players to develop in the FCD system.
“I said all along when I came here, I would like to invest in young players to give them a platform to excel,” the veteran MLS exec noted. “I’m looking for younger players that can make a name for themselves and can be jumping into the best teams in the world. I think right now this is the perfect situation to do that.”
The reason he is taking the trips now, during the stretch run of the MLS season, is because Clavijo wants to have any possible signings ready to go once preseason begins in late January.
Having worked in the league for many years, he is no stranger to how long it can take from getting an international player inked to a contract to actually completing the paperwork necessary to have the player legally cleared to play in the United States.
“My goal is to provide the team that the coach needs when we start pre-season,” Clavijo said. “To do that, we need to work for the next three months to be sure that we have everybody in place. … The window opens up January 15 and on January 15 I want to make sure all the paperwork and visa is in place so we can have them training [soon after].”
Over the next two months, Clavijo will be taking further trips south of the border to Ecuador, Paraguay and Colombia in search of the next South American players for an FC Dallas squad that has had plenty of success with imports from the CONMEBOL region.
Always one to provide some insightful words to sum things up, head coach Schellas Hyndman put it simply when asked about his technical director’s trip.
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail,” Hyndman said. “So we want to make sure we’re organized and prepared.”