FC Dallas academy director Luchi Gonzalez has been promoted to head coach, making him the eighth head coach in the team’s history, the club announced Sunday.
Gonzalez’ hire concludes about a month-long coaching search. Dallas looked both internally and externally to fill the position. United States under-20 coach Tab Ramos and FCD assistant coach Marco Ferruzzi were also linked with the job.
“Luchi is an outstanding teacher, a smart tactician and has a keen understanding of what it takes to build a successful team,” FC Dallas Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement released by the club. “We are excited about his passion for FC Dallas and his vision for the future of the club. Luchi had championship success with our Academy and we’re confident he will build on that as a head coach in MLS.”
Gonzalez will replace Óscar Pareja, who left for Club Tijuana in Liga MX. Pareja was also elevated from an academy director position, moving from FCD’s academy in 2012 to coach the Colorado Rapids before returning to Dallas in 2014.
The 38-year-old Gonzalez has a history in Dallas beyond the club. He won the 2001 Herman Trophy while playing for Southern Methodist University. Gonzalez was the sixth overall pick by the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft but failed to make an impact, only playing in eight matches. He bounced around Europe and South America before ending up with the Minnesota Thunder in the second-tier USL First Division in 2008 and retiring the following year.
“Since joining FC Dallas, Luchi has proven himself to be a championship-caliber coach within our Academy who has incredible knowledge of the game on every level,” FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said. “During our exhaustive head coaching search, it was clear that his philosophical approach to the game and love for this organization make him the right choice to guide the future of our first team.”
Gonzalez was the under-16 youth coach for Dallas until 2015 when the team promoted him to academy director.
He takes over an MLS team at a crossroads.
FC Dalla finished the 2018 regular season with a 16-9-9 record and 57 points for fourth place in the Western Conference. However, the club again was disappointed with a first-round exit in the playoffs.
While many of the starters from 2018 are set to return, Dallas is expected to lean more on its younger players, which include Brandon Servania, Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira, moving forward.