MLSsoccer.com Q&A with Fernando Clavijo

Ronald Martinez

I thought this story deserved its own post because there's a lot of meat in my season review Q&A with Fernando Clavijo. I touched on a few different topics with him that I think will be very interesting to FCD fans with the best stuff coming in the parts looking forward to the draft and what needs to change about the youth academy with regards to homegrowns.

I think one of the things it is and the biggest concern in my regard is, you can say that you are the best player in the academy and I may have to agree with it. The best player in the academy can’t necessarily go pro. That’s a fact. Are you good in the academy because you’re bigger than everyone else, you’re quicker than everyone else and in many other things?

Now, when you go to the pros, people are bigger than you and faster than you, so if you don’t react and adapt quicker, then you’re not going to be that player anymore. You’re coming in at a low level and you need to get to a higher level. If you can’t get there…you become a player that becomes a liability and that’s a problem. You’re playing the same level as a guy that may be just coming out of college, but you’re making three or four times more than that player who comes out of college.

As a bonus, here are two questions that didn't make the cut for the article that I think are perfect for posting here.

With the draft, Schellas has said he sees the draft as a placed to get good defenders and maybe good wide players but forwards can be hit or miss, would you agree with that?

It’s more difficult to find forwards or creative midfielders. Everyone is looking for wide players, it’s not easy but again when I look back, Omar Cummings was a forward and became one of the best in the league when healthy. You have to really look deep into the draft and maybe look at some colleges others aren’t looking at. And also be lucky at the same time. When I was in New England I remember I was dying to make sure nobody picked someone up and Dallas picked Chris Gbandi and I picked Taylor Twellman so you have to be lucky too.

How important is it to make sure there is a solid backup behind Ferreira? Villar was solid when healthy this year, but his health is always a concern. Are you looking to get younger backup for Ferreira to start grooming someone in his place?

Again, could we find that in the draft? It’s not easy in that position more than many. Are we looking overseas? Yes we are but we have a disadvantage. Ricardo is a green card holder so he doesn’t count as an international, the salary cap numbers on Ricardo are good, they’re not exceptionally high so are we trying to improve that position yes. It’s the same thing that I told Scott Sealy. If we don’t try to improve on every position then we’re not doing our job. I’m trying to and if we don’t, I don’t want to make the mistake and let others go.

I think this is a do or die year for [Villar] in pre-season. He needs to come in here and be healthy, something he was not for much of the year. We can blame it on luck or whatever we want to do but that needs to change for him to be in this team. When he’s healthy he’s a quality player. For the first five or six games of the year, he was one of the best players we had and hopefully we can see him back at that level and then we have no reason to look to change him or trade him or release him.

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