Dallas Soccer DFW

FC Dallas rookies wage friendly battle for roster spots

Published 3/9/2011 4:40:13 PM by Robert Casner from mlssoccer.com

Snowstorms, two-a-days, first-game jitters and a room at the Comfort Suites two blocks from the stadium. Welcome to the life of a FC Dallas rookie.   For Charlie Campbell, Bobby Warshaw and Scott Gordon, the thrills of being drafted by the 2010 MLS Cup runners-up have subsided with the wear and tear of daily double training sessions, and now each player must make one final run for a locker at Pizza Hut Park.

However, an unusual snowstorm rumbled through northern Texas during the first week of training, allowing University of Louisville alum Campbell to meet the other rookies.

“We have gotten pretty close, especially with all the snow days,” said Campbell. “We practiced only twice in the first six days. One day, we got a ride to Target and bought a PlayStation3 and a NHL game because I’m a huge Blackhawks fan. Bobby was the Flyers, so it was a rematch of the 2010 Stanley Cup.”

Although he’s not a big gamer, Charlie Campbell used the experience to become closer with his teammates. He says they aren’t quite family, but the rookies do spend every moment of the day together.

“I wouldn’t say [we're] brothers, but you’re staying at the same hotel, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner together for a month straight,” said Campbell. “We became close, but at the same time, we realize there’s a limited number of spots and not all of us can make it.”

After battling a hamstring injury and rehabilitating with strength and conditioning coach Daniel Torres, Campbell (pictured right) made his first appearance in the final of the Disney Classic in Florida against the Houston Dynamo. He said, “It felt good to put the FC Dallas jersey on.”

Another rookie, Gordon, has used the injuries to the FC Dallas defense as an opportunity to showcase his abilities.

“I’ve been playing pretty well, but there’s always room to improve,” said Gordon, a product of Lynn University. “I think it’ll help when the starting center backs return and having the veterans in there to help us out a little bit.”

In the Disney Classic final, the 6-foot-4 Gordon paired with 6-3 Brek Shea as the featured center backs and played the full 90 en route to the championship trophy. With height on his side, Gordon impressed the coaching staff in another area.

“I did well on the fitness test,” said Gordon. “I pride myself on being fit. I’m not going to be the most technical player on the field, but I can definitely be the fittest.”

Both Gordon and FC Dallas’ top pick in this year’s SuperDraft, Warshaw, agree that the game is faster at the professional level. At the end of the day, though, Warshaw says, “It’s still soccer.”

Warshaw, a two year captain at Stanford University, as well as a Hermann Trophy semifinalist in 2009 and three-time All-Pac 10 selection, is regularly heard at FC Dallas practice sessions communicating with his teammates. He believes that the on-field relationships are the most important.

“I don’t think about the coaches at all,” said Warshaw, the #17 overall pick in the SuperDraft. “It’s more about the guys. You want to gain their trust … and [make] them to feel comfortable.”

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