FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas players participated in their final training session of 2013 on Wednesday morning and have only their physicals, plus end-of-season interviews, later this week before being released for the offseason.
The club has previously stated that its preference is for the next head coach to have a say in offseason personnel decisions. While this will obviously be beneficial for the as-yet-unnamed coach as he looks to mold a team in his image, it puts the 17 players with team options or expired contracts in the awkward position of not knowing their future as they prepare to go their separate ways for six weeks.
Forward Kenny Cooper, whose option for 2014 is held by FCD, plans to spend time with his in-laws on the East Coast while continuing to train in preparation for next season. He hopes it will once again be spent wearing red-and-white hoops.
“I would love to be back, Dallas has always had a special place in my heart,” the Dallas native told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “If my option is not taken … I like to think I could live anywhere and I’ve enjoyed both my experiences [in Europe]. In the future, I’d be open-minded to different things.”
Fullback Zach Loyd has spent his entire four-year professional career in Dallas, but for the first time the usual starter saw his role diminish in 2013 due to injury and the emergence of Homegrown product Kellyn Acosta. Loyd, whose contract has expired, says he’d be happy to come back and compete for a starting role, but he's pragmatic about the fact that there will be tough choices made on a team that missed the playoffs.
“When you fall short in this business, the reality is, there will be changes,” he explained. “I have no problem competing for a position, whatever is going to push me as a player to get better. And also, the most important thing is whatever is going to push the team to get better.”
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Loyd went on to say that if he doesn’t remain with FCD, he’d consider trying to fulfill his childhood dream of playing in Europe, but only if the opportunity made sense for him and his young family. Goalkeeper Chris Seitz echoed those thoughts on a possible move abroad, but also emphasized that he hopes to remain in Dallas.
“I have a lot to prove,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “I’ve loved my time here and I’d like to continue it. Listen, I had a good year personally, obviously, but at the same time, it’s something that [because] we didn’t reach our goal, there are going to have to be changes made and I’m realistic with that.”
Matt Barbour covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.