After long wait, Jimmy Maurer finds right opportunity in MLS with FC Dallas

FRISCO, Texas — Seven years after being drafted by the New York Red Bulls, Jimmy Maurer is in the midst of a breakout return to MLS with FC Dallas.

The 28-year-old shot stopper was released shortly after being selected in the 2011 Supplemental Draft, taking in stints with the Atlanta Silverbacks, Universidad de Concepción in Chile and a championship-laden run with the New York Cosmos before heading to Frisco, but Maurer has never lost sight of the journey.

"You’d think it’s a big negative thing [being released by the Red Bulls], but I was able to go to the Atlanta Silverbacks in NASL and get 17, 18 games starting as a rookie in my first professional year," said Maurer. "While I didn’t have experience in MLS until now, every year I’ve been playing, I’ve got games. That’s been huge for my development. As a goalkeeper you grow through your mistakes, and just being able to have those and games under my belt has really helped me to get to where I am today.”

While seven years outside of MLS seems like a long time in the development of a player, that wasn't without opportunities arising. The Georgia native has shown patience in exploring the best routes for that journey.

"I wanted to make the jump to MLS for a while and I’d had different opportunities approached to me over the past few years," said Maurer. "For a variety of reasons they didn’t seem right at the time, and something that definitely appealed to me was that it was a legitimate opportunity [to compete for the starting role at FC Dallas].”

Maurer's start to the season saw as many goals conceded as clean sheets through his first six games, and a stunning double save in a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union. Expected goals numbers from Opta show that Maurer has been a top goalkeeper in MLS so far. Based on the quality of chances Dallas have conceded so far, they would have been expected to concede 8.38 goals on average. The fact that they have conceded just six could be due to some poor finishing from their opponents, but Maurer undoubtedly had a hand in keeping goals off the scoreboard.

The most goals he’s given up in a game, yet, came Sunday against NYCFC in a 3-1 loss, FC Dallas’ first defeat of the year.

"We’ve got to bounce back after a tough loss in New York last week and I’m just focused on doing my best,” Maurer said. “Just to ensure Oscar [Pareja] can trust me, that I’m the guy he can call upon this weekend, and I’ll be ready for that."