FC Dallas is keeping it in the family, announcing it has named academy director Luchi Gonzalez as its head coach starting in the 2019 season.
Gonzalez will take over from Oscar Pareja, who left for Club Tijuana after the 2018 season. Pareja also led FCD's academy before becoming head coach, though he spent two seasons as the head coach of the Colorado Rapids before returning to take the FCD top job.
“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 in a news release. “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."
While FCD is hiring a familiar face, there has been an enormous change in the team since it last lifted trophies in 2016. In addition to Pareja's departure, sporting director Fernando Clavijo took an indefinite leave of absence. Luiz Muzzi, who made personnel decisions in his absence, is still working with the team but reportedly is set to take a similar position with Orlando City.
FCD traded away midfielder Kellyn Acosta during the 2018 season and also sold playmaker Mauro Diaz. This offseason, the makeover has continued with Maxi Urruti traded to the Montreal Impact, Tesho Akindele moved to Orlando City and Victor Ulloa traded to FC Cincinnati.
Those moves, plus Gonzalez's appointment, hint at a club looking to sell out ot its philosophy of developing academy players, then selling them on. Gonzalez will be tasked not only with developing players, as he had been in the past, but also getting wins in the first team.
"I like to show through influence and example. They can’t be a good student if I’m not a good student. They can’t work hard if I’m not going to work hard," Gonzalez said in a video released by the club. "They’re not going to deal with adversity and move on if I can’t do it. That’s the way I presented myself. I only presented what I know. What I know is this club, top to bottom, and the best way we can honor Oscar or Fernando or any past leader is to evolve."
Gonzalez was a star player at the college level, winning the Hermann Trophy in 2001. He couldn't break through as a professional, playing at a handful of MLS club and in both Denmark and Peru before turning his attention to coaching. He joined the FCD academy in 2012 and was promoted to director in 2015.
He is set to be formally unveiled Monday at a news conference.