FRISCO, TX - MARCH 11: Zach Loyd #17 of the FC Dallas celebrates with fans after beating the New York Red Bulls 2-1 in a soccer game at FC Dallas Stadium on March 11, 2012 in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas won 2-1. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
In case you missed it, I had a feature article on Zach Loyd earlier this week looking at his season. It's certainly been an eventful one for the third-year right back with two red cards, two goals and a call up to a preliminary US National Team squad.
There was a ton of good quotes from Schellas and Zach that didn't make it into Thursday's story that I wanted to share here because I think they're really informative and I think Zach is certainly someone who will be a long-time player for FC Dallas. Potentially even the kind of guy that could set some longevity records before his career is all said and done. Would you believe he has played more games in an FC Dallas shirt than any other player since he was drafted onto the team in 2010?
I would imagine it's a major priority of both coaching staff and player to get him locked up long-term here. Is he the best Oklahoman in MLS history?
Zach, how do you feel like your 2012 season has gone, your third year in the league
It’s going alright, I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve had a couple red cards which I was pretty disappointed in myself to pick up those two, but I think you learn from your mistakes and you grow from them. The coaches took me aside and worked with me helping me progress through that. Unfortunately for the team, the season hasn’t gone the way we‘d like it to go, but I think the latter half of the season we’ve really picked it up. We’re making a push for the playoffs...I base my performance off the team and the team has had ups and downs so that’s how I feel my season has been but you learn from your mistakes and you grow from them. All I’m thinking about right now is Vancouver and getting three points. That puts us right in the mix for the last four games of the season.
Talking about those red cards, you're one of four players in the league with two red cards this season, something anyone who knows you wouldn't really expect. What has happened with those this year? Just an unlucky learning experience?
I never want to be that player that people think I’m dirty or coming in cheap on people but I am an aggressive defender and I know that I mix it up with whoever I’m playing against. I think unfortunately I picked up some hard calls but that’s the way the season’s gone this year and I think it’s more about being smarter with the yellow because you never know what the referee Is going to do and you shouldn’t give him the opportunity to change the game.
When I do pick up a yellow, I think it’s more important that I know what to do as far as I’ve got to relax and not mix it up with players. I think I’ve learned from that and unfortunately I did pick up the two red cards which were the first two red cards I’ve had in my entire life. It’s unfortunate but you can’t dwell on the past. Going forward I’ve had many talks with the coaches about it and the last thing I want to do is hurt the team. I felt like I hurt the team in those two games so going forward I think I’ve learned from it, it’s helped me mature as a player and going forward I’ll stay out of the red cards.
You're in your third year in the league now, how do you feel like you've progressed in that time and how are you different now than in your rookie year?
I think my first year was all about fighting for minutes, getting adjusted to the physical play and the mentality of a season being a year instead of just three months like college. The first year was just a huge adjustment. Coming into this year I talked with the coaches that I was going to be the starting right back if I could keep my position and I wasn’t going to be center back one game right back the next game kind of being used as utility but I was going to be more locked in on a position. This year it’s been good for me to grow as a right back, this is one of my first full seasons to play outside back. It’s been a huge help for the experience having all the minutes I’ve had this year.
You got a call from Klinsmann earlier this year for the first games of WCQ to the preliminary 30-man roster. What did he tell you even though you didn't make the final cut?
Just keep plugging away and working hard. As a player, everyone wants to be on that national team but as players all you can do is play. Each game and each training trying to get better and putting the hard work in while leaving the rest up to the coaches. If they want to call you in it’s obviously an honor to get called in but I think as a player it’s important to not overthink it and just worry about FC Dallas and us making the playoffs and I think as the team does better the individual accolades come along with it.
Typically, rookie contracts for first round draft picks are four year deals which means next year would be the final year of your contract. Are you hoping to be here long-term?
Yeah I love it here. I love the club. We have great facilities, I think we have some of the best facilities in MLS. It’s close to my family, I actually prayed to come to Dallas before I got drafted so it’s been a huge blessing. We have a great chaplain named Cliff Shaw that I’m close with so I have a lot of people I’m very good friends with now and it’d be hard to leave. I’m just going to keep working and if the contracts come up then they come up but I’ll worry about that at the end of the season.
Schellas Hyndman on Loyd
How do you think Zach's season has gone? Obviously the red cards were an issue but there's also been plenty of ups with the downs...
I think Zach’s really had a learning season. From where he left off last year, it’s been improving and that improvement comes with time, experience. It also comes with playing more and understanding his role more. I think we’ve seen three different seasons out of Zach this year. The first season was a lot of enthusiasm, fresh, a world banger going at it. The second part of the season was some silly plays, a couple games this season where he got multiple cards and we played a man down. Now the third part of the season he’s really trying to be more and more intelligent, he’s learning the game and starting to understand maybe I don’t need to make that tackle in their half of the field and potentially get a card, maybe I can just wait back here because he’s still got to go through me. I think this is probably a learning process he had to go through but he’s really doing it well.
Speaking of those red cards, do you feel like it was more of just a naive learning experience, or something deeper?
I think it was just a learning experience, I don’t think there’s any deeper problem there at all. The thing that we all love about Zach is he’s a battler, a competitor and he’s very courageous. But I love that about a bull. When I go to a bullfight I know the bull is going to charge. Where Zach has to understand and raise his level of play is to think the game through and not get emotionally wrapped up into the game. Sometimes to learn that you almost back up too much and that’s the one thing we have to be careful with is we don’t put him in the situation where he’s trying to be a thinker and not doing the things we need him to do.
Do you see Zach as a guy that is really beginning to become a leader on this team and one of the public faces?
Yes, I think Zach is a wonderful human being. A very caring person and I know the team is very, very important to him. Not only the success of the team but every member of the team and I think because of that he’s starting to feel like much more of a contributor and all Zach wants to continue to do is get better.