FRISCO, Texas -- At FC Dallas’ last home game, a graphic on the video board called midfielder Ryan Hollingshead the team’s “Swiss army knife.”
That is because the 24-year-old Sacramento, California native has started at five different positions for his club this season. Those starts include 11 at right of left wing – with the club flipping its wings during matches occasionally -- as well as one at attacking central midfielder, two at right back, and most recently four at left back.
Labeling him as a midfielder at this point almost feels inaccurate given how much the 24-year-old California native has bounced around the field. But the versatility he has shown after working to regain his form last season has made him a unique asset for Dallas.
“I think it sets me apart,” Hollingshead told MLSSoccer.com. “I don’t think there’s a ton of guys [in MLS that can play that many positions]. I mean, I don’t think I’m the only one that can do it. I think there are guys that can definitely do it. But it’s definitely not every player that can.”
Hollingshead has had to prove himself this season more than others after he took a year off of soccer and struggled finding his form last season.
He has had ample opportunity do that, starting the season as a winger and showing versatility by stepping in for a variety of defenders who missed time either due to injury or international call-ups.
“You’ve got to look to any thing you can use to get an advantage in this sport,” Hollingshead said. “And also, this is our job. I’m competing for a job every day I come out here. So I want to prove that I’ve got things that other people can’t offer.”
Although Hollingshead has not scored a goal since May 1 in a 4-1 blowout of the Houston Dynamo, his presence has still been felt. During the club’s recent five-game winning streak, Hollingshead started at left back in three times.
And with Je-Vaughn Watson returning from the Gold Cup last week, his time starting at left back could go on hold. No matter where he plays though, Hollingshead is dialed in.
“You’d think it’d be more stressful,” Hollingshead said about bouncing back and forth between positions. “But for me, when I switch to a new position, I’m so overly conscious about what’s going on and concentrated on the new position that I end up playing better.”
As far as the new nickname goes, the “Swiss army knife” approves.
“I do like that nickname,” Hollingshead said, laughing. “There could be a lot worse nicknames out there.”