Today is a new day for FC Dallas. The offseason begins as the team moves into their final couple of weeks of training before the real fun begins in Frisco.
Dallas has plenty of off the field items to handle this offseason though. From a coaching hire to the SuperDraft, the offseason will be very busy for this club.
Here are the top priorities of the offseason.
Hire a new coach
This one is pretty obvious and it will likely dictate a lot that goes on with the rest of this list. Can FC Dallas snag Oscar Pareja from Colorado? Or could they land someone like a Tab Ramos instead? Maybe Richie Williams?
Time will certainly tell. The good news is I'm hearing less noise on the Fernando Clavijo to the bench front. For a while it seemed he would be the front-running in the discussions but the few people I have talked to close to the situation suggest that he is content on remaining the club's technical director instead. That is good, I think we can all agree on that.
Now if the club is going after Pareja, they obviously will have to wait and see how the Rapids do in the MLS Cup Playoffs this week. They have a meeting with the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday. In their last game, the Rapids looked weak against Vancouver, losing 3-0. The Rapids were resting some key players in the season finale so that may have had something to do with Camilo scoring a hat trick to end the season for Vancouver.
If Colorado continues to advance, I would imagine the coaching search will shift focus elsewhere. I can't imagine Dallas' front office waiting around until the beginning of December to find a new coach. They want to get it done before MLS Cup from what I've been told.
What to do with assistant coaches
Should Marco Ferruzzi not be signed as the next manager, will he stay on with whomever is hired? I don't know how he's done it over the years. If you think about it, it could be his fourth manager that he's been an assistant under, should he decide to stay on.
But what about the other assistants on the bench? Will Brent Erwin and Drew Keeshan stay?
This story line won't be as big of a headline as the coaching search but it will certainly be one to keep tabs on.
We've discussed who is on a contract year on this space already. A number of players could return and a number of players could be let go.
I'm still waiting to hear the official date but late in November, there is a deadline that non-playoff clubs like Dallas will have to deal with for re-signing players that are on an option in their contracts. For players with expiring contracts like Zach Loyd, the club has until the end of the calendar year, so December 31, to strike up a new deal. But more than likely a player like Loyd will go through the Re-Entry Draft, which is likely to be the two weeks after MLS Cup (Phase 1 being a week or so after MLS Cup wraps up).
Right now there are 17 players on the roster with either expiring contracts or options on their deals. That means there could be potential for a ton of turnover or just a small amount depending on how the front office handles things.
For players like David Ferreira, if the club opts to keep him around for one more year, they need to restructure his contract in a way that does not make him a Designated Player. That much we can all agree on. But we'll get into the roster money talks at a later date on this space.
But do you keep a Peter Luccin, who clearly was someone the team lacked in the center of the park all season.
So many questions on the roster, we'll continue to revisit it in the coming days/weeks.
Would you look at that, thanks to the bad play this season Dallas ended up with the 5th overall pick in January's SuperDraft. I'll begin looking at the various possibilities on this space in the coming weeks.
But in the meantime, the club needs to be scouting the pool as heavily as possible. They'll be in a good position to get a Generation adidas player too, which is nice since those players are salary cap free for a couple of seasons.
Early looks at securing loans for 2014
While some loans in 2012 didn't pan out, one could argue nearly every player loaned out in 2013 at least got minutes they needed. Bradlee Baladez scored goals off the bench in South Florida, while Richard Sanchez has started nearly every Fall season game for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Bobby Warshaw also has looked like a new man in Sweden.
But what about next year? Sure, it may be too early to tell but getting players some offseason training stints in Europe would be a good start. Maybe someone like Walker Zimmerman, or Danny Garcia. I think next year seeing someone like Homegrown keeper Jesse Gonzalez go out on a season loan would be a good place to start.