FRISCO, Texas — Charlie Campbell is hoping his second go-around with FC Dallas lasts a little longer than his first.
Selected out of the University of Louisville in the second round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Campbell stuck with FCD through nearly the entire preseason, but failed to earn a roster spot.
Now, having spent two productive seasons with two-time USL Pro regular-season champions Orlando City FC, Campbell is back for a week-long trial with FCD looking to gain an invite to 2013 preseason training camp.
“I became good friends with a lot of the guys and a lot of people that work for the club in the office,” Campbell told MLSsoccer.com of his first stint with FCD. “It’s a great opportunity to come back and hopefully stay for a little bit longer.”
Campbell is one of four trialists getting a look this week as FCD finishes up postseason training. He was slotted in at right back and given the tough task of defending against Colombian speedster Fabián Castillo in a scrimmage.
WATCH: Campbell's "Charlie Sheen" nickname
”We drafted Charlie out of Louisville and unfortunately he was in preseason and picked up a couple of knocks, hamstring and ankle, so we never really saw the best out of him,” said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. “But we really liked his play in college and we really liked his demeanor and work ethic.”
Campbell’s case is certainly an interesting one: By moving down to the lower level, he was able to gain dozens of first-team appearances with Orlando City that likely would not have come had he earned a contract with FC Dallas. For the Chicago-area native, that was valuable playing time that now has him more prepared for his second shot at earning an MLS contract.
“I definitely feel like I’m more MLS-ready than when I got drafted,” Campbell said. “I think it’s a tough transition from college to pro. And going to play in a lower level for two years, then coming back here was easier for me.”
Having played just about every position but centerback for Orlando City, Campbell hopes his versatility can be something that sets him apart from a number of players that he would be competing with for one of the final roster spots in 2013.
“I think that’s probably my biggest attribute is being able to plug in anywhere,” Campbell said before dropping the quote of the day. “I’d love to say that I’m Fabián, where I can sprint the whole time and have great ball work. … It felt like I was running the beep test defending against him and Jair out there.”
With an option to sign with Orlando City for 2013, Campbell certainly has some job security heading into next year, but an MLS contract is what he’s really aiming for.
“They said they’ll talk to me at the end of the week and I’m optimistic that I’ll hopefully have an opportunity [in pre-season],” Campbell said. “But if not, it’s been a great experience coming back for the week.
Daniel Robertson covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.