FRISCO, Texas – The first day of the post-Brek Shea era in North Texas wasn't a sad one. It was a day filled with new possibilities.
With money to spend and room under the salary cap after Shea’s transfer to Stoke City on Thursday, FCD now can turn to the future.
“It’s good for me as a coach to know who I can count on [that’s] going to be here,” head coach Schellas Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com after Friday morning practice. “I think it’s good for the team to know that Brek’s gone now, who are you bringing in? It’s an unknown right now and that’s what we’re going through right now is that anticipation of 'Who is coming in?'”
While Hyndman said he thought a move in the summer would have been more likely heading into this offseason, the transfer has really been more a matter of "when" rather than "if."
“I think it’s always been in the back of his mind to play somewhere else,” said Hyndman. “It could have been a different team in MLS, sometimes you just need a change. … I think it’s been one of his goals, so it wasn’t something he just woke up someday and said I’d like to go to Europe.”
Coping without Shea shouldn’t be too much of a shock to an FCD team that learned to adjust without him through the later stages of last season.
“Every player in this locker room only wants the best for him,” said midfielder Andrew Jacobson. “Everyone’s going to be watching the Stoke games wanting to see him play. It’s a dream and something that you dream of when you’re watching on TV. Everyone wants the best for him for sure.”
With Dallas now needing some significant help on the wings, all eyes will now turn to technical director Fernando Clavijo.
Working with one hand tied behind his back in his first season at the helm due to a tight salary-cap situation, Clavijo has been given an incredible amount of financial flexibility with the move and what he does with the money could define the imprint he puts on this team.
“It’s really an opportunity for Brek, who was really looking forward to going to England to play and hopefully showcase himself,” Clavijo told MLSsoccer.com. “It also gives the team an opportunity to look for different players and add talent to really compete as we think 2013 should be a championship year for us. It gives us opportunities.”