FRISCO, TEXAS—How much longer will Team USA have to wait to get its turn at hoisting the world cup trophy? Will American soccer ever reach the level of the game in Europe? The brass at FC Dallas believes it will, but only by developing young players with a different approach that North Texas parents aren't exactly used to.
What we have now in youth systems are that win mentality, said former FC Dallas player Bobby Rhine who is now the Manager of Community Development with the team. With that mentality, you coach risks out of players and that's the exact thing we do not need in the U.S. We want players taking risks so that those risks pay dividends on the worlds biggest stage.
That's been the philosophy behind the development of FC Dallas' junior program the last three years and Major League soccer rewarded that approach in April by sending one of this club's junior teams to Holland for six days to learn from some of the best teams in Europe.
I think you find it's the speed of the game and maturity factor of the young players because they're in that totally full time professional environment said Barry Gorman who FC Dallas hired in February as Technical Director to manage the details of the youth development program. We're trying to recreate it here. So a trip to Ajax gives them a taste of it and hopefully it's a taste they want to replicate.
Rhine joined the team in Amsterdam and hopes the junior team got as much out of the learning experience as he did. In Holland and you look at the Dutch national team that played in the final against Spain, almost half of that world cup roster came from the Ajax system, that really preaches free thinking, individuality, and a willingness to take chances for players to be brave and courageous, and have a desire to create problems at every moment of the game, Rhine said. You want kids to go out and play the game and love the game, but willingness to take chances because they're not going to get yelled at for doing it, that's a philosophy we absolutely adhere to and there can't be enough coaches in North Texas that can have that philosophy because really there's no need to have results oriented youth game.
There are more than 2000 kids participating in the FC Dallas soccer system. 126 of those are playing for the premier league teams, ages 11-18. Now the eventual goal of this whole organization is to have more than 50 percent of its pro team's roster stocked with kids from North Texas.
It would be nothing more than a dream for these boys to say, Ii grew up and came into a pro team at 7 years old, which is how our program operates currently, said Chris Clarke, the FC Dallas Director of Academy. To be able to stay within our program provided they have the talent and training and then ultimately represent FC Dallas inside Pizza Hut Park, it's a fantastic story. Its what the community needs, it's what North Texas soccer needs."