FC Dallas offers Mario Torres a developmental contract

Dallas, Texas - FC Dallas President and General Manager Greg Elliott announced today that the club has offered a developmental contract to midfielder Mario Torres. Torres, a local Hispanic League player, is the first player in team history from the Dallas Hispanic Leagues to be offered a deal by the team since Major League Soccer's inception in 1996.

Should he join FC Dallas, Torres would occupy one of the club's 10 Developmental Roster spots. Formerly consisting of six players last season, the Developmental Roster has been expanded to 10 spots in 2005 with the start of the soon-to-be-named reserve league this year. FC Dallas also extended contract offers to forward Abe Thompson, defender Aaron Pitchkolan and goalkeeper Chris Gomez.

"The Mario Torres story is a nice story because, based on a number of initiatives our organization has put in place with the Hispanic Leagues and the Hispanic community over the past year, we were able to discover a local Hispanic player who can make our roster," said Elliott. "This is just the beginning of our more direct and significant relationship between FC Dallas and the local Hispanic Leagues."

"We offered Mario a contract because he deserves to be signed," said FC Dallas Head Coach Colin Clarke. "He came in and in a short period of time, performed very well in the matches he played in. Mario is a versatile player who can play wide and also in the center. He gets himself in the right spots, has good feet and good touch on the ball. We're happy to have him."

"I am extremely happy to be given an opportunity with this team and to travel to Spain with FC Dallas," said Torres. "I am very proud to be the first player from the local Hispanic Leagues to have been offered a contract by FC Dallas and I hope this opens the doors for more Hispanic League players in the future."

"This is great for the local Hispanic Leagues," said President of Hispanic Leagues Soccer Federation Roberto Castillo. "Mario will be somebody that the other Hispanic League players will look up to and is proof of the local Hispanic talent. I wish him the best of luck with FC Dallas."

"I want to thank Greg Elliott for keeping his promise on giving opportunities to the local Hispanic League players," said President of the Greenville League Miguel Quiroz. "I also want to thank Colin Clarke and the rest of FC Dallas for treating Mario extremely well and for allowing his dream to come true."

Listed below are the four players FC Dallas offered contracts to today:

• Midfielder Mario Torres - The 22-year old has played in the Dallas Hispanic Leagues for the past four and a half years. He attended Coppell High School after moving to Dallas from Chihuahua, Mexico at the age of 12. Nicknamed "El Gato", Torres scored a goal in his first scrimmage against the University of Memphis on Feb. 19.

• Forward Abe Thompson - He is the all-time Maryland leader in points (112) and is second in goals (43). Had successful surgery on his cheekbone on Feb. 22 and is expected to miss the next four to six weeks. Was the team's second round choice (16th overall) in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft.

• Defender Aaron Pitchkolan - Played his collegiate soccer at West Virginia and the University of Tampa (freshman year). Appeared as a forward, midfielder and defender during his college tenure. Was the team's second round selection (23rd overall) in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft.

• Goalkeeper Chris Gomez - Played every minute in net during his senior year at Brown University. Registered a 1.13 goals-against average with six shutouts and was named an All-Ivy Second Team selection. Was the team's third round pick (28th overall) at the 2005 MLS SuperDraft.

FC Dallas did not offer contracts and, thus, released the following players: forward Julian Nash, midfielder Sammy Tamporello, defender Drew Cavanagh and trialists Todd Brown, Freddy Garcia, Jon Hall and Alex Woods.