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Quick Burns: We share our favorite Fernando Clavijo memories

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He will be missed a lot, that much we know.

fernando

With the news that Fernando Clavijo passed away over the weekend, our staff wanted to share some of their thoughts and feelings about the former FC Dallas technical director.

Feel free to leave your favorite memory or thought below.


Nathan Hill - The “Clavijo Special”

While we fans probably criticized these moves at the expense of some of his excellent signings (such as Michael Barrios, Fabian Castillo, and Carlos Gruezo to name a few), Fernando Clavijo seemed to “get” this club. FC Dallas is not the darling of Major League Soccer. Frisco is never going to be the home of a Zlatan Ibrahimovic or some other huge superstar. That means this team needed a Technical Director who was thrifty, inventive, and willing to take risks. Clavijo definitely ticked those boxes. The “Clavijo Special” became synonymous with late season loans or flyers on unheralded, often Latin American-based players who at worst offered depth and at best gave us a few moments of excitement. Getterson was one of the last that still resonates in die hard FC Dallas fans’ hearts. But, hey, Clavijo was instrumental in building this team to be a regular contender. He deserves credit for expanding our imagination and embracing the ethos that makes FC Dallas (frustratingly at times, I know) unique.

Rest in peace, Fernando.

Jeff Loftin - Architect

As fans of the club, we owe much to Fernando Clavijo. He was the primary architect behind the success of the club and its dedication to youth development. The man will be missed dearly, but his legacy will live on with the club following his roadmap. We lost a soccer legend, but more importantly we lost a good man. The world does not have enough good men and we are now one shorter than before.

Mohammad Bushnaq - The Gentleman

Having had the privilege of being an intern with FC Dallas five years ago now (time flies), I was among the few lucky enough to interact with Fernando Clavijo on multiple occasions. Fernando was a “gentleman” in the true sense of the word.

A true indication of the character of an individual is to see how they treat those who are beneath them. The one funny memory (for me) I have of Fernando was when I was walking into the office on one of my first days as an intern. When I was walking in, I was starstruck when none other than Mr. Clavijo held the door open for me to walk in. We had one of those awkward laugh-out-loud moments when I insisted that he enter the office before me and he was having none of it, leaving us in a little waltz for a few seconds. In the end, he won out, a true servant leader at work insisting that there was no hierarchy that was more important than his morals.

In what should definitely be an indication of how we should all live our lives, the small things are those that stick with you. Thank you for your time and kindness, Fernando. You will be sorely missed.

Ben Lyon - The Angry Technical Director

I never got a chance to meet Fernando. I missed my chance when I went to the US Development Academy Championships back in 2016. He was there for the semifinals but not the finals and was allegedly in fine apoplectic form about Weston McKennie’s imminent departure for Schalke. This was after he had already been diagnosed with the cancer that ultimately took him from this world, and he was still out there working hard and spitting fire. I’ll always regret missing out on that chance to meet him.

Of course, we know the history after that. Paxton Pomykal, Jesus Ferreira, and Bryan Reynolds all signed before their 17th birthday in the six months that followed. FC Dallas wasn’t going to let another starlet leave early without them turning down a sweet deal for a teenager, and here we are today with a proper U23 team ready to launch this spring. I’m sure the club would have got to that point eventually, but that episode really kicked the team into high gear despite 2016 being the most successful in club history from the Senior Team down to the youth ranks. Fernando was a very crucial player in all that, and he’ll be sorely missed.

Scott Hiney – An Expert in Enthusiasm

Similar to Mo’s privilege, I had the opportunity to spend the summer of 2016 as intern with FC Dallas and as incredible as that time was — as well as the year as a whole (Open Cup champs and Supporters’ Shield winners, if you’ve already forgotten) — my biggest takeaway was how much fun that front office team was — with Fernando at the helm of it all.

I specifically remember a wildly-successful July night when the first team beat the Fire at home, 3-1, while, simultaneously out in Carson, CA, the U-18s and U-16s each became champions of their USSDA divisions. We were at the stadium well into the early morning of the next day working to document it all and Fernando was right there with us, congratulating us for the work the digital content team was doing in capturing that historic day in club history. The enthusiasm and pride he showed for the team and its staff was so well-encapsulated in a tweet. You can see me, in the bottom right corner, probably crafting a tweet featuring a bad pun.

This was one of many memories of him I have from that summer and multiple other interactions, in the press box and elsewhere, that featured the never-ending energy and joy that man seemed to have for his club and the people he befriended along the way.

Jared Tilley - The Good Guy

I only interacted with Fernando a couple of times over the years. In both cases, he was more than happy to stop and talk with this lowly writer from BigD. He had a way of making people feel important even though he was being pulled in a million directions. I stopped him once on the concourse and once on the practice field and both times he was walking pretty quickly with his head down. When he noticed that I asked him a question, he put all of that on the back burner to take a second and hear out my questions. He, by no means had to do that and I honestly would have totally understood if he said he needed to get to a meeting. Instead though, he stopped down to speak with me.

Fernando was a lot of things, but his best attribute was his ability to make those around him feel like a million bucks. That is the sign of truly good guy and someone that will be solely missed around the stadium and practice fields.