Frisco, TX Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Which came first, the winning team or the happy group of athletes that enjoys playing soccer together?Ã‚Â For FC Dallas Coach Schellas Hyndman, the answer regarding his table-topping team is clear:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We had this team chemistry in preseason without the games, so winning had nothing to do with the chemistry,Ã¢â‚¬Â he told MLSsoccer.com after WednesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s practice. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We want to play for each other, now the winning part confirms everything weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been doing is right.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The team realizes that locker room harmony can be fickle and that once itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lost, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to get back.Ã‚Â The preseason trips to Cancun and Portland were as much about creating bonds amongst the players as they were about connecting passes on the field. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve also recently started taking language classes (English for the native Spanish-speakers and Spanish for the native English-speakers) to build on the intra-squad communication. Star forward Blas Perez thinks it is working.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Definitely, without a doubt,Ã¢â‚¬Â Perez said through an interpreter. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think the fact that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re learning English and our teammates are learning Spanish helps us increase that bond even more [along with] the brotherhood and friendliness.Ã¢â‚¬Â
On the field, Captain David Ferreira acts as the coachÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right hand man and helps keep the team organized and focused. But in the locker room, Hyndman says other players have the opportunity to positively impact the team.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Funny enough, Peter LuccinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been great,Ã¢â‚¬Â Hyndman explained. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Even though heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s injured, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s taken a responsibility of sayingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦I know the game. I want to share my knowledge even though I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help the team on the field.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â Fabian Castillo was also mentioned by numerous players as a guy that is funny and helps keep the team loose.
The strong team camaraderie is evident in training, during matches and in the locker room, and the players are convinced it is integral to their success.Ã‚Â This is why they organize outings on their own, such as a recent barbecue and croquet tournament held at Eric HassliÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ranch.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think the good locker room breeds the winning,Ã¢â‚¬Â defender Zach Lloyd explained. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The cohesiveness translates to wins on the field. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just my experience being in the league for four years, I think the better locker room, the better results you get on the field.Ã¢â‚¬Â