FC Dallas has announced today that Academy Director, Luchi Gonzalez has been promoted to head coach and will take over for the legend Oscar Pareja.
Gonzalez has served as the Academy Director since October 2015, and has been long considered to be Pareja’s replacement at some point in the future. Though Gonzalez would probably have wanted some USL experience before taking the head coaching gig with the senior team, nobody else understands the FC Dallas Way or the FC Dallas system better than Luchi at this point.
This career path is not unfamiliar to FCD, as Oscar Pareja was Dallas’ Academy Director before, but had a two year head coaching stint with the Colorado Rapids before coming back to Dallas in 2014. But this kind of promotion fits well with the Dallas system of grooming their own before giving them a shot with the senior team.
Gonzalez also has long ties to the Dallas area. He was a standout player for SMU, winning the Hermann Trophy - awarded to the best college player, in 2001. Gonzalez was drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes, but his pro career didn’t take off as planned. He retired from playing professionally in 2009, and went straight into coaching, winning the state championship with Felix Varela High School. He joined the FC Dallas Academy in 2012, and has led multiple teams to several championships.
At 38, he’ll be the second youngest head coach in MLS (Anthony Hudson with Colorado is 37). Which is fitting given the emphasis on youth for the roster this season. Might as well go young with the head coach too.
Reports say that Dallas had a variety of candidates interested in the position, and even had Tab Ramos and Josh Wolff interested in the gig. But in the end, the right person for the job had been with them all along.