FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas has earned a reputation for developing young American players, but coach Oscar Pareja says his team isn't the only one doing quality work in the U.S.
During the offseason Pareja and several members of his staff, including assistant coach Josema Bazan and strength and conditioning coach Fabian Bazan, went to Spain to spend time with Jorge Sampaoli at Sevilla.
While he said he took productive lessons from seeing the Argentine tactician in action during his trip, he also said that coaches in the United States should take pride in the work they're currently doing.
"I always say that we have our own identity," Pareja said at a news conference Thursday. "What I like to see from different coaches is maybe capture some stuff that can be adapted to our model.
"But I think we should be proud about the work we do. I say to our coaches all the time, we’re doing - and I’m saying here in Dallas - but America is doing a great job coaching players and this country is doing a tremendous job developing the game. Eventually, I’m not saying them, but people need to come to America and see coaches work."
Pareja was pleased to get the chance to visit Spain after a season that saw his team win the U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters' Shield but fall short of the domestic treble with defeat in the MLS Cup playoffs.
"Sampaoli has had a tremendous career and is doing awesome in Spain," Pareja said. "We wanted to have that chance to go with the club and we also had the opportunity with Josema as well to go see Atletico Madrid, how they work there in terms of their goalkeeping department. We spent a good two weeks on this education, and for me it was fantastic to go see different things."
The FCD coach joked with reporters that Sampaoli would make a trip to Texas during his offseason but took a more serious tone when asked about the former Chile national team coach's opinion of MLS.
"The way the league is being perceived now compared to how it was 20 years ago is different," Pareja said. "It’s crazy that people want to come and they know much more about the league, more than we ever think."
Dallas returned to training earlier this week in anticipation of a Feb. 23 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Arabe Unido. The team will continue training in Frisco for another week before traveling to Argentina for exhibition matches.