FRISCO, Texas — Amid the buzz surrounding George John’s potential transfer to EPL side Blackburn Rovers, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman admitted he himself didn't fully know the status of his center back.
“I’m really in a difficult place because I really don’t know what’s going on,” Hyndman told reporters after the team's training session on Tuesday. “I just met with my team and I think they know. I think George has contacted some players, but I was expecting him at practice yesterday.”
Hyndman said he received an e-mail on Monday morning informing him that John was in Europe just as the reserve team — which would have included John because he sat out Saturday’s game with a suspension — was to begin training. Apparently John, who was born near Seattle but has both Greek and American nationalities, was on his way to Greece to finalize his passport.
According to his agent, Ted Philipakos, John will be in England on Wednesday to finalize the personal terms of his contract with the EPL side.
“Let’s assume that he’s in England trying to go through a physical and everything,” Hyndman contemplated. "If that’s the case, then we obviously wish him the best. It’s something he wanted to do. We had a lot of difficulty with this, trying to make a decision, because we know how important he is to our team.”
Dallas are currently chasing four trophies as they sit in third place in the Supporters’ Shield race, the semifinals of the US Open Cup, atop their group in the CONCACAF Champions League and have their eyes on the MLS Cup after falling short to Colorado last year.
“It’s hard to lose somebody at this point in time, but [it’s] just like losing Kenny Cooper,” said Hyndman of the former Dallas striker’s departure for Germany in 2009. “When we lost Kenny Cooper in the middle of the year, it gave us the resources, the financial resources, to build a team that we have out here now.”
John’s current contract was set to expire at the end of the 2012 season.
Earlier this summer, Dallas re-signed John’s center back partner Ugo Ihemelu to a long-term deal, but Hyndman admitted that re-signing John was near impossible.
“We’ve been trying to re-sign him for over a year," Hyndman said, adding that John "was looking at maybe a European passport and other opportunities, but this is quite honestly not the place he wanted to be."
“If that’s the case, then ownership and everyone else probably are making the right decision for the future of our club so that we can compete, but this was not an easy decision for everyone to make,” Hyndman added.
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached on Twitter: @robertmcasner