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Matt Hedges Debut As Captain Leads To High Praise

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The third year defender has grown a lot during his time with FC Dallas.

At times during his sophomore season in 2013, Matt Hedges was placed in situations that required him to become a leader. During those times he would struggle to guide FC Dallas in a manner that a leader needs to. Either he would have issues in his passing game or he wouldn't be vocal enough on the field.

But so far in 2014, Hedges has had to step up again as a leader with George John sidelined with a knee injury. Thankfully for FCD fans, the center back has stepped up massively under new head coach Oscar Pareja, so much that Pareja placed the captain's armband on him against Chivas USA.

But that wasn't the only praise that Pareja gave Hedges.

"I'm going to send a little message here: I think he's ready to go and help us in the national team," said Pareja. "He's a great leader."

Hedges commented after the game that he was honored that Pareja would say those kinds of things about him.

"He has the confidence in me, that's great that he would put that out there," said Hedges. "He gave me the armband today and it was a great thing to lead this team to a win."

Hedges' partner for the last two games Stephen Keel agreed with Pareja about Hedges' potential as a national team defender.

"Absolutely, I don't see why not," Keel said of Pareja's comments. "He's scoring goals and I think last week against Kansas City he was marked up against [Matt] Besler, who is presumably the starting center back for the national team.

"He has been phenomenal, just from the first game to last week," said Keel. "How he didn't make team of the week is mind boggling. Hedges is bringing that leadership quality that's just going to take his game to the next level. "