Drew Moor

Moor to come in Dallas' 2005 plans

a shootout victory against the San Jose Clash after the teams played a scoreless draw over 90 minutes. At the time, he didn't entertain any thoughts of playing for his hometown MLS team.

But thanks to the growth of MLS toward becoming a league that consistently draws young talent like Moor and Moor's growth toward becoming the type of player MLS thrives on, he is ready to become part of history himself and suit up for his club's first match as FC Dallas.

"At 12 years old, I was just excited to have a league in the United States," he said. "When MLS first started, I never really looked at it as a league that I would want to play in. But my perception of that changed pretty quickly.

"Once I started playing club soccer, got a little older and then eventually into college soccer, I realized that MLS is a great league and it's not going to be a league where Americans can just use it as a stepping stone into Europe," Moor added. "It's going to be a competitive league, and it's going to be tough fighting for starting positions, or now that they have the new reserve league, even first team spots.

"Now that I get a chance to put on a Dallas jersey and play in front of my home crowd, it's going to be a good feeling. Hopefully, I will win over some of the fans, some of the young kids, because I just remember 10 years ago, looking up to the guys on the team that I'm going to be playing for now. It's a great opportunity."

FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke said Moor is just the man his team wanted, part of an impressive SuperDraft haul that saw them acquire veteran midfielder Richard Mulrooney and Trinidad & Tobago international striker Cornell Glen through trades. The fact that Moor is a local product and Generation adidas player, in addition to his experience training with the club, certainly helped him.

"He's trained with us and he's always come in and done very well," Clarke said. "He's been able to step in in training and acquitted himself very well; he didn't look out of place at all in anything he's done."

With preseason training little more than a fortnight away, Moor is preparing for the battle to make the first team and perhaps the starting XI. He has been running frequently and training with his former club coach, Kevin Smith of the Solar Soccer Club, in order to keep his touch on the ball in top form.

Clarke said preseason training camp will be an open audition for every spot on the back line, not just the space that opened up with the recent departure of U.S. international central defender Cory Gibbs. While Moor and newly acquired 22-year-old defender Alex Yi might be the most likely candidates to replace Gibbs, veteran Steve Jolley and second-year player Clarence Goodson are also among the several would-be starters.

"It's there to be fought for. I think there's going to be a lot of good competition for the starting spots," Clarke said. "We're going into camp and that will be the message to everybody. They've got to come in and fight for a spot. Nothing's been given to anybody."

Moor is confident of his chances to be in Clarke's first XI, though he is somewhat disappointed that he won't get to play alongside Gibbs.

"It's good and bad news," Moor said. "I was really looking forward to getting to know [Gibbs] and getting to play with him and hopefully, even alongside of him ... Last summer when I trained with them a couple of times, I realized how good he is.

"At the same time, I guess that does open up another spot and leaves some more questions for a starting position," he added. "Now that Cory is gone I guess that opens another inside back position. I guess we'll see how preseason will determine what that means for the defenders."

For now, Moor will keep busy with his preparations for the season and his efforts to sort out a schedule to finish his undergraduate program with Indiana.

Moor, a second-semester junior, was already behind due to his transfer from Furman University to Indiana two years ago. He is working with his academic counselor from Indiana to craft a program that may consist of internet courses, correspondence courses and classes at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Moor said he plans to slowly chip away at his degree, with no firm date of completion yet.

Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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