FC Dallas seized an opportunity to begin their first training sessions with ball drills at Blue Sky in The Colony on a gorgeous Friday. Three different players who are looking to seize the day with FC Dallas in 2005 have looked good early in training camp and are very excited about the new season. Alex Yi, Clarence Goodson and Richard Mulrooney will look to be important weapons in Colin Clarke's arsenal this season.
Yi has tried for some time to get back to the United States and play soccer after leaving for Belgium in 2001. Yi played two seasons at UCLA, two seasons with Royal Antwerp in Belgium and has now returned to the United States with FC Dallas. His first impressions of the team have been very good.
"First of all, the first day I got here I had the chance to meet everybody and everybody was very nice to me," said Yi. "Everybody knew my name and were asking me questions which made me feel very comfortable. You can tell the coaching staff here is very organized.
"They walked through the whole preseason my first day here and what they wanted to get out of us this spring training."
Although Yi didn't know many of his FC Dallas teammates prior to his arrival, he did know of a few of them. Growing up in Maryland, Yi was a huge D.C. United fan and he remembers those teams from the mid-to-late '90s.
"I don't know anybody personally, but I'm looking forward to getting to know these guys as time goes on," said Yi. "I had always heard of all of them through my following of Major League Soccer. Supporting DC United growing up, I obviously know of Carey Talley and Scott Garlick from their days in the capital."
Yi is a 6-foot-3, 197-pound defender who will be counted on to provide a consistent presence in the back for Colin Clarke this season.
GOODSON LOOKS TO SEIZE THE DAY
Clarence Goodson, at just 22, has already taken a step to show his leadership early in training camp. Through the first four days of running, Goodson was one of the players pacing his group and pushing his teammates to work hard. He knows the opportunity that lies ahead of him this season and realizes that this could be a breakout year for him and for the team.
"Every player wants an opportunity to start and be a contributing part of the team and I look forward to doing that with FC Dallas," said Goodson. "I just want to help the team make the playoffs, move forward and reach all of our goals set out before the season."
Goodson is very precise and confident when answering questions, articulating to people exactly how he feels about this year. The 6-foot-4, 165-pound defender knows that he will have to be committed to and dedicated to the coaches, his teammates and the fans.
"In my opinion, it's got to come through hard work," said Goodson. "I'll go out there and do all the little things right and do whatever the coaches and my teammates ask of me.
"Through my dedication to the team, I hope to gain the respect of everybody, including the fans."
MULROONEY SIZING UP THE SITUATION
One of the main reasons President and General Manager Greg Elliott and Head Coach Colin Clarke obtained Richard Mulrooney from San Jose was to add a little grit and character to the locker room. Although Mulrooney hasn't been speaking out too much during the first week of training, you can tell his assessments of the team are being laid out in his mind during his first impressions.
"Actually I'm figuring out how to become a leader in this new locker room as we go," said Mulrooney. "I'm slowly, but surely, getting to meet the guys and finding out how they are off the field because that can tell a lot about how they are on the field.
"As we begin to touch the ball around, I'll become more and more comfortable because they will see my desire to be a leader both on and off the field."
Speaking up in the locker room is something that all leaders will do during the season. Whether it's pumping up their team before a match or assessing a problem at halftime, all good leaders know when to speak up. Mulrooney seems to have already known that.
"When things need to be brought up vocally, I can do it," said Mulrooney. "I'm not one to yell just to yell, but I will never be scared to voice my opinion when something needs to be said.
"It's good to have chatter in the locker room, but it needs to be positive. As our camp and our season moves along, I think you'll see the other veterans on this team as well as myself start to speak up more and more."
Mulrooney, along with 2004 team MVP Simo Valakari, may be two of the top candidates to serve as FC Dallas' 2005 team captain.