FC Dallas announced on Thursday afternoon that assistant coach John Ellinger has retired from coaching. According to the club he is wanting to spend more time with his family back in Maryland.
Ellinger has spent the last five seasons with FC Dallas as Schellas Hyndman's top assistant.
The FC Dallas staff is now down to Marco Ferruzzi, Drew Kesshan and player/coach Daniel Hernandez.
"When I took this position with FC Dallas, I wanted someone with me who had been a coach in the league, who had been a head coach and was someone I had known for many years," said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. "John is not only someone who I consider to be one of the best coaches in the country, but also somebody who I consider to be a personal friend who brings trust and loyalty. His value and contribution to FC Dallas have been immeasurable. I know it has been a difficult year for him being separated from his family and while he is looking forward to reuniting with them, he will be very much missed here at FC Dallas."
In 1997, Ellinger was hired as U.S. Soccer's Under-17 head coach and the organization's Director of Youth Development, which included spearheading the launch of the U.S. Soccer U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida. Ellinger trained some of the top athletes in the country during that time, as well as his time in Dallas. Among the more than 200 players who have graduated from the program are Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Bradley, Eric Avila, Dax McCarty, Jeremy Hall, Kyle Beckerman, Mike Magee, Heath Pearce and current FC Dallas player Brek Shea.
"I've really enjoyed my time with FC Dallas," said Ellinger. "Not only has it been enjoyable helping Schellas build something here, I've also enjoyed the time I've had with so many players I coached as youth with the U.S. Residency program. It was fun to spend time with them both in their developmental years and again as professionals. I'd like to thank the coaches, staff, front office, players and fans for making my time here such a great experience. While I'm happy to be going home to spend time with my family, I will definitely miss many of the wonderful people here in Dallas."
I have to say this is a big loss for FC Dallas and US Soccer in general. You really couldn't find a nicer guy than Ellinger.
With this open spot on the bench, Dallas has a couple options to go with here. One will be moving Hernandez into a full-time coaching role, the other will be adding in another assistant. Heck, or both. Of the coaches out there that I'd love to see be brought in to be an assistant, former Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser is at the tops of my list. So does former Chivas USA assistant Greg Vanney. Both are solid coaches and would be a welcome addition (yes, I know Chivas absolutely sucked but believe me they were in a no-win situation there with that bunch).