Brek Shea extension a no-brainer for FC Dallas

FC Dallas held their first formal press conference of 2011 on Thursday to announce a four-year contract extension for Brek Shea. It’s a great move, both for the reigning MLS Western Conference champions as well as for the College Station native who turned 21 in late Feburary.

Originally a first-round pick in the 2008 MLS Super Draft by ex-FCD head coach Steve Morrow, Shea blossomed in 2010 with five goals and four assists in 25 games. So far in 2011, he has two goals and one assist in eight contests.

Shea joined club President and CEO Doug Quinn, owner Clark Hunt and FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman for the gathering.

“Brek came to us in 2008 as a 17-year-old. Since that time, he has delivered on and off the field. Brek has really become a fan favorite,” Quinn said. “Brek Shea is exactly the type of player we need to keep in Major League Soccer.”

Hunt also expressed his happiness with today’s announcement that Shea will play in Frisco for the next several seasons.

“Re-signing Brek demonstrates our commitment not only to putting a team on the pitch which can win a championship but one that has a strong tie to the state of Texas,” Hunt said. “Perhaps the most impressive thing for me though about Brek Shea is his attitude. His actions represent the epitome of team first.”

And someone who knows Shea very well, Hyndman, also expressed his gratitude at knowing he’ll have the rangy Texan on his roster for the next few years.

“When I came to FC Dallas, we had a very young player that wanted to be on the field. As Brek continued to improve in his training, he started getting his opportunities,” the FCD head coach said. Last year was a breakout year for Brek. He was one of the main parts of our team. We are absolutely excited to have Brek continue to be a part of FC Dallas.”

One interesting fact about Shea is that he has already started at four different spots in 2011. But with left back Jair Benitez possibly returning this weekend, his days of starting at left back are hopefully over.

The rangy, young Texan clearly does his best work on the left side of the midfield as he is free to roam up and down the flanks, deliver devastating crosses and can also get on the end of service when called upon. It’s not that he didn’t show well for himself during his time in the back but it’s clear an offensive-minded player like Shea needs to be featured more prominently in the FCD attack in order for this team to be successful.

Naturally, Shea was the last to speak and while talking about himself isn’t one of his strong suits, he did deliver some heartfelt sentiment with much of his family in attendance.

“I just want to thank the Hunts, FC Dallas, Coach Schellas and my family for everything. I also want to thank the fans,” he said. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you guys. I’m happy to be here, stay in Texas and continue playing for FC Dallas.”

While it is truly great to see FCD lock a key contributor to their unprecedented 2010 success in for the next few years, this announcement was a bit disappointing to say the least. Sure, signing Shea to an extension is announcement-worthy but did it warrant a press conference?

Have to say no on that one. And when you consider that there wasn’t a presser either when David Ferreira was added in 2009 or when Fabian Castillo was signed earlier this year, one has to wonder what the thinking is behind having one for Shea. For an organization that is constantly trying to make inroads in the Latin community, FCD swung and missed twice by not having formal gatherings for either Ferreira or Castillo since the Latin media would have been out in full force for either announcement.

And the media turnout for today’s presser was a bit disappointing. Sure, the usual suspects were there but there wasn’t one local TV station there, which might be more than anything a function of the fact that the release announcing this gathering didn’t go out until yesterday, not exactly much advance notice.

Today marked the first presser of 2011. There were exactly two last year. The first was for the announcement of Quinn as club President and the other several months later was to announce the signing of four players to Homegrown contracts. Both of those warranted pressers, so expectations were high for today. While seeing Shea get an extension and with his family present was a nice story, it still has to rank as a letdown.