Before coming to FCD in January 2018 after making 145 appearances in Italy’s Serie A, 34 in the English Premier League and 122 in the Swiss Super League, Ziegler, 33, did his homework and knew exactly what to expect in MLS.
“It’s nothing complicated. Dallas offered me to come here,” Ziegler told MLSsoccer.com after training Tuesday. “I followed MLS before I moved here and knew how they [FCD] wanted to play. It’s a technical team, fast in transition. They wanted me in the back to be a leader and to play the ball out, to help the young people because we have a young team. I’m here to win titles. That’s still my goal.”
When asked if anything about the league has surprised him thus far, Ziegler said it hadn’t, calling MLS a tough, physical league where nothing comes easy, a circuit “with a lot of international players with a lot of technique.”
Almost immediately after arriving, Ziegler made a positive impact with FCD. Last season, he had four goals in 29 starts and so far in 2019, he has three goals in 10 starts.
But for Gonzalez, who took over the first team in December after Oscar Pareja stepped down, Ziegler’s value can’t solely be quantified by his numbers.
“He’s a professional. Every training he is prepared,” Gonzalez said. “Even in the way he warms up, you know it’s important to him. That’s leadership by example that the other players follow. When he needs to be vocal, he is. When he needs to set the tone, command and direct, he does. He’s been really positive in whatever his role’s been.”
Before coming to MLS, Ziegler played high-level soccer in six different countries. And seeing how so many different clubs in different locales develop their own talent has afforded him a great perspective on what a great academy looks like, which is exactly what he sees with FCD.