By DAN KARELL
When FC Dallas came calling for Oscar Pareja, it was always going to be hard to turn down a return to his former club.
The former Dallas Burn player and long-time FC Dallas assistant returned to the club as their newest head coach on Friday in a deal with the Colorado Rapids, ending an extended transfer saga over his future. In order to acquire Pareja, FC Dallas sent a first round selection in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money to the Rapids.
The Rapids say that their head coaching search will begin immediately.
“We are thrilled to welcome Oscar back to FC Dallas as head coach,” FC Dallas chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement. “In addition to his stellar career as a player in our league, Oscar has an outstanding track record of success as a coach at every level of MLS. After an extensive search process, we concluded that Oscar’s experience, teaching ability, personal integrity and passion for our club make him the ideal choice to lead FC Dallas in 2014 and beyond.”
Prior to the 2012 season, Pareja was named the head coach of the Rapids and led them to an overall regular season record of 25-30-13 (W-L-T). Pareja did draw acclaim this past season after navigating through a terrible injury crisis and leading the club into the playoffs, though they were bounced in the knockout round by the Seattle Sounders.
Pareja in particular drew praise for the way he handled the multitude of young players on the Rapids that flourished last season, including rookies Dillon Powers and Deshorn Brown, and first-year MLS players Chris Klute and Clint Irwin.
FC Dallas is coming off a second consecutive season where they missed the playoffs and in addition to cutting ties with head coach Schellas Hyndman, the club jettisoned a number of their veteran players, including Kenny Cooper and David Ferreira. Next year’s FC Dallas squad will most certainly be a younger one than last year.
Pareja’s connection with the city of Dallas extends all the way back to 1998, when he joined the Burn as an attacking midfielder from the New England Revolution, after a transfer from Deportivo Cali in Colombia. Following more than seven seasons with the club, Pareja retired from playing with 13 goals and 47 assists for the Hoops.
What do you think of this news? Do you see FC Dallas improving next season? Think that Colorado can recover from Pareja’s loss? Surprised it took so long for FC Dallas to hire a new head coach?
Share your thoughts below.