If his players aren’t in their comfort zones, Luchi Gonzalez is getting his message across.
That was a key sentiment coming from the new FC Dallas Head Coach following the team’s first intra-squad scrimmages last Saturday morning, where three teams consisting of established first team players, 2019 draft picks, trialists and academy players played each other in their first game-type action of the new year.
With such a melting pot of personalities, abilities and styles, Gonzalez is quickly impressing his management strategies on the team — key among them being an ability to adapt.
“Get over yourself. Get your ego out of here,” Gonzalez said to the media following Saturday’s scrimmages at the Toyota Soccer Center. “Adapt. Bad call? Adapt. You didn’t get a perfect ball? Adapt. We’re losing two-zero? Adapt.”
The lesson is the same for seasoned stalwarts like Matt Hedges as it is for academy players like Edwin Cerrillo, who could soon be yet another Homegrown signing. Regardless of experience or expertise, it’s key to Luchi.
“I’m always making this reference of getting guys out of their comfort zone,” Gonzalez said. “And it’s not going to happen because I tell them to.”
On Saturday, he didn’t want to see just his players out of their comfort zones, either. He also asked of his newest staff member Eric Quill — who was named North Texas Soccer Club’s first head coach just two days earlier — to referee.
“I wanted to get him out of his comfort zone, get him to engage and make mistakes,” Gonzalez said. “He made some calls that were a little dubious but he’s got to own them and the players have to adapt to it.”
Highlighting the importance of using training to get his players accustomed to what they’ll see in real matches, the former FCD Academy coach understands that his squad will only truly learn to adapt through actually experiencing the feeling of being outside their respective comfort zones.
“The circumstance has to cause them to adapt. The environment has to cause them to adapt,” he said. “We want to create that.”
FC Dallas will face their first preseason opponents this week, including a Wednesday afternoon scrimmage against North Texas Rayados and a match Saturday against Houston Baptist University. Both of those games will be held on Field 1 at the team’s training center.