As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez has witnessed the fluid nature of dates set at an MLS-wide level.
The targeted game return date (now June 8) and training moratorium (now May 15) have both shifted, and then on Tuesday the MLS Primary Transfer Window was also put on hold. Executives are working to determine when the window can resume in accordance with FIFA guidance. It was originally scheduled to conclude on May 5, with the MLS Secondary Transfer Window open July 7 to Aug. 5.
Gonzalez anticipates the current pause on the primary window could be an extended one, and that when transactions do resume, they will be more complicated than normal.
"FIFA and MLS and the leagues are going to try and do what’s fair," Gonzalez said. "I think there will be a lot of exceptions this year, I think every league will have a lot of exceptions with FIFA. You have player transfers, maybe some clubs are going to want to hold a player because they didn’t get to fulfill their last few months of their contract. You’ll get some interesting disputes, I’m sure. I don’t see this being some black-and-white thing."
Specific to FC Dallas, Gonzalez doesn't envision a huge challenge. Technical director Andre Zanotta has previously said they’re still set to add forward Franco Jara as a Designated Player this summer from Liga MX side CF Pachuca. Plus, Gonzalez has confidence in their Homegrown Player and veteran-heavy squad.
“We’re looking forward with the group we have to compete and fight for something special this season, hopefully with the season being saved with zero transfers [needed],” Gonzalez said. “I’m very confident in the group to be able to do that without having to change anything at all. But if the club gets to a point where we need to have movement, then we'll address it at that time. Right now that’s not the main focus, I know that.”
Another not-so-high item on Gonzalez’s to-do list is the newly-formed MLS youth league that's that was announced as US Soccer terminated its Development Academy. The former FCD academy director said he’s happy to consult and provide guidance about next steps. But his priorities lie with the first team and making sure they’re ready to hit the ground running when play resumes.
“It’s going to be in my nature to be involved and to know what’s going on, especially when it comes to FC Dallas,” Gonzalez said. “I have a lot of great relationships in US Soccer, in MLS, the different leagues and the different organizing committees even here locally. I’m going to make sure that I'm here just to support the best way I can.
“To make sure that whatever we’re deciding … that, to me, is going to be answered by what’s best for the players. What’s best for player development? As long as we’re answering that it’s what’s best for player development, I’m going to be very supportive of it.”
Framing much of Gonzalez’s perspective is also the desire to return to the field. Like everyone social distancing and isolating, he longs for the human connection we’re all missing out on.
When the time is right, he has a sense of what will be rekindled.
“I’m excited to get back to that feeling – I don’t know how else to put that,” Gonzalez said. “I think the word is [the] feeling of working alongside my partner, the staff, the player, my brother, my soldier, my whatever. That’s the feeling that I know we can’t wait to get back in a training-type environment, even if we’re 30 yards away from each other.”