Major League Soccer’s leading producer of Homegrown Players is taking a similar approach to its next head coach.
FC Dallas are in the final stages of confirming academy director Luchi Gonzalez as the successor to Oscar Pareja, sources told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday, after the 38-year-old impressed the club’s leadership with a strong performance during the interview process. Gonzalez's ascension to leading candidate was first reported by Univision Dallas.
Should the two sides reach a final agreement on a deal, it would mark the first senior professional coaching job for Gonzalez, who has overseen FCD’s prolific youth system since 2015 and coached in it since 2012. He would also follow Pareja’s example as the second straight FCD coach to lead the academy before taking over the first team, though Pareja’s case also included a stint in charge of the Colorado Rapids in between.
Gonzalez first drew national attention for leading Dallas’ Under-15/16 team to back-to-back U.S. Soccer Development Academy national championships from 2014-16, led by crop of talent that included subsequent Homegrown signings Reggie Cannon, Jesus Ferreira, Paxton Pomykal and Bryan Reynolds. FCD’s U-17/18s also won a DA national championship in 2016.
An attacking star at Dallas’ Southern Methodist University at the turn of the century, Gonzalez won the 2001 MAC Hermann Trophy – awarded to college soccer’s top player – before entering MLS as the sixth overall selection in the 2002 SuperDraft, picked by the San Jose Earthquakes. The Hialeah, Florida native also played for the Colorado Rapids and spent time overseas in Sweden and Peru before calling time on his playing days and moving into coaching.
US U-20 national team coach and retired USMNT legend Tab Ramos is among those who also interviewed for the FCD job; reports have also linked Columbus Crew SCassistant coach Josh Wolff and longtime FCD assistant Marco Ferruzzi to Dallas’ search.
One source told MLSsoccer that Ferruzzi is likely to take up Gonzalez’s position as academy director as part of the club’s reshuffle of the technical staff following Pareja’s departure for Club Tijuana.