Colombian Midfielder Daniel Cruz Joins FC Dallas

via www.sporza.be

You saw his name here first last week and the rumors are true that FC Dallas has signed Colombian offensive midfielder Daniel Cruz on a free transfer from Germinal Beerschot of Belgium. 

Daniel Cruz is a player with a fairly impressive pedigree having joined Ajax at just 17 years old. In 2002, he joined Belgian first division side Germinal Beerschot and has been their #10 and captain ever since. Back when the rumor first came out, I asked John Chapman, Belgian soccer expert and @belgofoot on Twitter about him and he had this to say. 

Bit of a legend at Beerschot where he’s captained club, played around 200 games and has been creative force. Age 30 now though.”

A lot of you have compared him, fairly, to Ricardo Villar and while I hate to play the X player who plays in X league is stronger than Y player because he plays in Y league, Cruz has stuck with one team for a long time and you always like to see that rather than someone bouncing around a lot. 

More thoughts on the move and press release after the jump

So where does Daniel Cruz fit into this team? Schellas has this to say about him:

Daniel Cruz was a player we put on our discovery list probably back in February,” said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. “We felt like he could be one of those players who could contribute to our team and our style of play in the midfield, but he’s also versatile enough to be a second striker. He works on both sides of the ball. He’s extremely talented, very skillful. He’s got great experience, good vision and good tactical sense. He seems to be a man of good character. When you put all of those qualities together, I think he’s going to be a really good fit for FC Dallas.” 

It seems to be a move more with an eye for 2012 than 2011. Sure, he will certainly have an important part to play this season, but given the fact that he has been away from soccer for a few months, it's unlikely his fitness levels are to MLS standards right now and Schellas also preaches how it takes 6 months many times for international players to adjust to the MLS style of play.

It's obviously tough to know exactly how Cruz plays, though I will try and get in contact with someone in Belgium to find out. Cruz seems to slot into the Ricardo Villar role and could spell the end of the Brazilian's time in Frisco after this season, but this could also signify a move to 4-4-2 given Schellas' statement that he can play second striker. 

What likely happened was that Dallas was above Houston the discovery list and liked Cruz but seeing as how the Colombian has trialed for Houston recently, Dallas' hand was forced as Houston wanted to sign him leaving Dallas with the option to sign him or let him go to the Dynamo.

FCDallas.com has an exclusive Q&A with Cruz

FCDallas.com: If you could send a message to FC Dallas fans, what would it be? 
Cruz: I just want to tell them that I am really happy to be in this team. You will get a super motivated player, and I will work hard and do my best to help bring this team to success.

FC Dallas has signed Colombian midfielder Daniel Cruz, the club announced today.

 

“Daniel Cruz was a player we put on our discovery list probably back in February,” said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. “We felt like he could be one of those players who could contribute to our team and our style of play in the midfield, but he’s also versatile enough to be a second striker. He works on both sides of the ball. He’s extremely talented, very skillful. He’s got great experience, good vision and good tactical sense. He seems to be a man of good character. When you put all of those qualities together, I think he’s going to be a really good fit for FC Dallas.”

Cruz spent the majority of his professional career with Germinal Beerschot in the Belgian Pro League where he captained his side to a 2005 Belgian Cup title. The 30-year-old midfielder made more than 150 appearances in league play for Germinal Beerschot, tallying 12 goals.

 

He made his first team debut with for Ajax during the 2000-01 season after spending two years with the club’s reserve squad. He appeared in 11 matches for the first team during his initial season and stayed with Ajax until joining Germinal Beerschot in 2003.

 

Cruz spent his youth at Academia de Fútbol Tucumán in Cali, Colombia, where an AFC Ajax scout discovered the 17-year-old while he was training with the América de Cali first team. His father, José Luis Cruz, played for Club Atlético River Plate and América de Cali.

 

Daniel Cruz

Position: Midfielder

DOB: May 3, 1981

Hometown: Cali, Colombia

Birthplace:  Cali, Colombia

Citizenship: Colombia

Acquired: Signed on Aug. 4, 2011

What do you think about this move?

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