Franco Jara - Pachuca - on dribble
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New FC Dallas forward Franco Jara on move to MLS, high expectations

In freshly arrived forward Franco Jara, FC Dallas are getting a player with plenty of pedigree, and one they're hoping will make an impact as soon as he sets foot on the field.

Jara went through his first training session with the club on Tuesday, after he had signed a pre-contract to join the club as a Designated Player in the winter. Jara, 31, joins Dallas from Pachuca of Liga MX, where he's been a consistent goal-scorer for the past six seasons, netting 60 times in 131 appearances.

Following his debut practice, Jara told reporters in a conference call that he's itching to get to work ahead of next month's MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, adding that he's been studying his new team closely from afar until he was cleared to travel to Dallas.

"[MLS] is a competitive league that just keeps growing, so that’s what brought me interest, club-wise, but as well as the competition," Jara said. "Looking at FC Dallas, I followed them every day after I signed the pre-contract just to get to know what kind of club we are. I just try to take it day by day and learn little by little to learn what I can about the league and the club.

“MLS has grown a lot recently. If I’m not mistaken, they’ve brought 30 players from big teams, from important leagues. That makes [the league] more interesting. One would like to have an experience like this. From the family point of view one was looking for a better education for their children. Also being part of a club like FC Dallas, so organized, with a training facility that’s so different, so beautiful."

Expectations are certainly high.

Jara becomes the club's highest-paid player, and will be tasked with carrying the goal-scoring load on Dallas' front line. Integrating with his new teammates, who will be trying to reestablish their chemistry themselves after the lengthy layoff, will add to the challenge, but Jara said he's not taking it as pressure.

“I don’t know if it’s called pressure," he said. "I don’t feel that way. Throughout my career I have set goals of doing things in the best way possible. Today my goal is to give lots of joy and return the confidence they showed to bring me to this team. I’m going to work to be at 100 [percent], no matter the economics. My goal is to give the club as much joy as possible and make everyone as happy as possible.

“Personally, I love the format," he added of the upcoming tournament. "To already be playing elimination games motivates me. You have to be concentrated from the first game. The format that they’re using is similar to a World Cup. It makes me happy. I hope I can have everything ready, like paperwork. And, physically, to be ready for the coach.”

Jara joins a growing list of talented imported Liga MX attackers that have recently made the move to MLS, including Sporting Kansas City's Alan Pulido, Inter Miami CF's Rodolfo Pizarro and the Seattle Sounders' Raul Ruidiaz. Jara said he's spoken with both Pulido and Pizarro about the league, adding that he felt as though his skillset will be a good fit with the group after his discussions with head coach Luchi Gonzalez.
 
“When I signed I began to look at how FC Dallas operates," Jara said. "I see that Luchi likes to play. It’s a very intense team. As a player that motivates you. Possession of the ball and being vertical in attack. I hope to be at the heights that the team expects of me. About the soccer aspect, I was in contact with Luchi. It helped me a lot to have a personal chat [with him]. He told me how he would like me to play, what types of movements he wants from me as a forward. The most important thing is to try to transfer those chats to the field. Hopefully it’s not that hard for me to adapt to the team. Everything is a process, takes time. But I am focused on being the best I can soon.”

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