FC Dallas Head Coach Colin Clarke will coach the MLS All-Stars as they take on English Premier League club Fulham FC during the 2005 Sierra Mist All-Star Game on Saturday, July 30 at Columbus Crew Stadium. The match will be televised live on ABC Sports beginning at 2:30 p.m. Central Standard Time.
Clarke becomes the first coach in the team's 10-year history to coach in the All-Star Game, leading FC Dallas to the best start in club history at 10-2-4 for 34 points. The New England Revolution had a chance to send their head coach, Steve Nichol, but tied at Los Angeles on Monday night and FC Dallas clinched the most points in the league. Clarke, a former member of the Northern Ireland National Team who scored a goal in the 1986 World Cup, is a veteran of England's top flight league. He played 361 games in England (1981-1993) with six different teams, including Portsmouth, Southampton, and Queens Park Rangers. During his 12-year career, the hardnosed striker scored 146 goals. Joining Clarke at the helm of the 2005 MLS All-Star team are FC Dallas assistant coaches Steve Morrow, Brian Haynes and Marco Ferruzzi as well as Head Athletic Trainer Josh Watts, Director of Team Administration Bobby Hammond, and Equipment Manager Marcus Owens.
The MLS All-Star starting XI will be announced on Wednesday, July 13. The starters are determined by online fan balloting comprising 25 percent of the total vote, with MLS coaches and GMs (25 percent), media (25 percent) and players (25 percent) accounting for the remainder. Eddie Johnson and Carlos Ruiz were the leading vote getters among forwards, while Ronnie O'Brien and Greg Vanney ranked among the top in midfielders and defenders, respectively. On Thursday, July 14, Clarke and his staff will select five All-Star Game reserves, who will join two other Commissioner selections to comprise the MLS 18-man roster.
Fulham, one of the oldest clubs in world soccer dating back to 1879, is owned by Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed and coached by Welsh Manager Chris Coleman. The team, which makes its home in London's renowned Craven Cottage, features several high profile internationals in its ranks including U.S. National Team regulars Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra, Canadian star forward Tomasz Radzinski, the second highest all-time goal scorer in the Premiership Andrew Cole, Portuguese forward Luis Boa Morte, England defender Zat Knight and Senegalese international midfielder Papa Bouba Diop.
"It's a great honor to coach in the All-Star Game and it means that our team has done very well thus far," said Clarke. "I'm looking forward to this game and making a statement for MLS. I'm very competitive and I hate to lose. But Fulham will also be taking it very seriously and they are a team that has done well over recent years in England. There will definitely be an edge to this game."