Simo Valakari, the midfielder who was named the Dallas Burn's Most Valuable Player in 2004, has been installed as the club's captain for the 2005 season.
In just his second season in MLS and with the club, Valakari takes ownership of the armband from MLS' all-time leading scorer, Jason Kreis, who departed the club after the 2004 campaign. The Finnish international has shown both skill and professionalism in making an impression on his FC Dallas coaches and teammates.
"Simo is the ultimate professional and we are glad to have him as our captain," said FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke. "He leads on the field with his passion and off the field with his work ethic and attitude. We look forward to Simo leading our team in 2005."
A tough-tackling defensive midfielder, Valakari in 2004 helped stabilize a club that was coming off its worst-ever season. He seized control of his area of the field, and any player caught trespassing was made to pay. Valakari led the team in fouls committed (73) and ejections (2) while tying for the club lead in cautions (8) with defender Chris Gbandi.
Valakari was no slouch on the attacking end, either, notching one goal and six assists last season. His lone goal was an 89th-minute game winner against the San Jose Earthquakes on July 7.
"This is an amazing honor and I am thrilled to be the captain of FC Dallas," Valakari said. "I will give the team everything I have and will be a captain that my teammates are proud of. I appreciate the coaches thinking of me in this way and I will do everything in my power to make FC Dallas a better team this year."
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.