Dallas Soccer: Marco Ferruzzi

Marco Ferruzzi likes what he sees from FCD Reserves thus far

April, 19, 2012
4/19/12
5:43
PM CT
In his more than eight years as an assistant coach for FC Dallas Marco Ferruzzi has held various responsibilities under four different head coaches. The San Antonio native even had a short stint as FCD’s interim head coach before current coach Schellas Hyndman was hired in June 2008.

But this season, Ferruzzi has added another responsibility as the new coach of the Dallas reserves. And through their first four games, the FCD reserves are 3-1-0 with nine points, tying them with Houston for the top spot in the Central/Mountain Division of the MLS Reserve League.

Bryan Levya and Jonathan Top each have two goals thus far for the reserves while FCD academy player Michael Ambrose, who is heading to the University of Maryland, currently leads the club with two assists.

In short, the man coaching this group couldn’t be happier.

“Well, it’s been good. The approach from the group has been very positive and committed. I think the one thing we started off with in speaking to the group is that this is an opportunity for you guys to get prepared to play first-team minutes but you have handle these games as important as the first-team games in terms of wanting to play well in terms of wanting to win those games because the results are important,” Ferruzzi said.

And the longtime FCD assistant feels that making sure his players have that same mentality is one of his biggest responsibilities with this young group.

“It’s all the same mentality that you have playing in the first team. If you sit there and you take it as an exercise or you take it as an individual and you separate it from the bigger picture, you’re not going to get the most out of it. So, they’ve taken it the right way,” Ferruzzi said.

So far, the only blemish on the FCD reserves this season is a loss to Houston, who they currently share the division lead with.

“They’ve gotten good results. I think they matched up against Houston, which on paper a good team, and they ended up getting a good result against us but I think we competed against them. It’s given those boys a chance every single week to be in Schellas’ 18 and some of them have already been in the 11,” Ferruzzi said.

Of course, this isn’t the first incarnation of the MLS Reserve League. But this Frisco fixture admits it’s nice to not have to basically pull guest players off the street as was often the case in the earlier incarnation of this league.

“It’s been enjoyable. From the first couple go arounds where we were scrapping for players because of injuries, schedule congestion and the timing of everything, I like the fact that we’re bringing in academy guys. Everybody that’s coming in is an FC Dallas part of the organization and I think it’s benefitting them,” Ferruzzi said. “They’re going to go away to school. They’re going to be that much more confident, that much more able and with that whole idea of being connected to us and coming back. There’s that whole continuity with us, which I like. So I think it’s got a lot of legs.”

Marco Ferruzzi one of few FCD constants in recent years

January, 29, 2012
1/29/12
2:16
AM CT
Since 2004, the professional soccer scene here in Dallas has seen its fair share of changes. There was the whole rebranding of the Dallas Burn into FC Dallas in 2005, a move that coincided with the opening of the club’s new soccer-specific facility in Frisco, then known as Pizza Hut Park and now FC Dallas Stadium. And in that same time frame, fans have seen three different individuals coach the club, each with varying levels of success.

Yet in that time there has been one constant and that has been assistant coach Marco Ferruzzi.

The 41-year-old native of San Antonio was first brought in by former Dallas gaffer Colin Clarke in 2004. Clarke knew Ferruzzi well after having coached him with the Richmond Kickers of the USL. Ferruzzi was an assistant under Clarke, a position he retained when Steve Morrow replaced his former boss in 2007.

The ex-Tar Heel Ferruzzi also served as FCD’s interim head coach between the time that Morrow was fired in May 2008 and current head coach Schellas Hyndman took over. Now, the UNC product continues to be an assistant under Hyndman and was recently named to coach the Dallas reserves in 2012, a role previously held by Oscar Pareja, now the head coach of the Colorado Rapids.

“First of all, very happy for Oscar. It’s well deserved,” Ferruzzi said. “He and I have worked together for a long time. Honestly, I’m not going in there to fill Oscar’s shoes. His coaching and his experience speaks for itself and mine is different. I have a familiarity with the reserve team as I’ve coached it in the past. So for me, it’s not necessarily a new thing, but in terms of the league trying to approach the reserve league in a more organized, more professional manner if you will, it is a different step. I’m looking forward to it.”

Sure, his time with Dallas has been filled with plenty of change but as he looks back, and more importantly looks forward, he does so with a great sense of pride and optimism about what the future may hold in Frisco.

“My eight seasons I believe, have gone through a couple of coaching changes,” Ferruzzi said. “A lot of highlights certainly, three different managers with a lot of different roles for me within the club. I think I’ve coached just about every team that this club has to offer. It’s been a valuable experience for sure.”

But it’s not all about his experiences on a personal level with FCD, Ferruzzi is honored to be part of the club’s evolution into what it is now.

“I’ve taken a lot in and most importantly, I’ve seen the club grow from just being a franchise changing brands from Dallas Burn to FC Dallas to a fully functional professional soccer club from the top down. It’s pretty fantastic,” Ferruzzi said. “It’s impressive and I feel fortunate I’ve been able to spend time in each one of those categories.”

No matter who has been coaching the club, this talented assistant has always been a valuable voice among the staff and that’s clearly no different in the current regime.

“Marco has been a tremendous asset to the team,” Hyndman said. “I think the fact that he’s going to be the reserve coach shows all the confidence we have in him. I think he’s very much in line to be a head coach. In fact, I’m surprised he hasn’t been already sought after because I think he’s very good.”

Ferruzzi already has some experience as a MLS head coach, the several games he was FCD’s interim boss at 2010. But as he looks back on his brief stint at the helm, he realizes it wasn’t about him, it was more about the club and getting things in line for when his current boss took over in June 2008.

“Honestly at the time, I wasn’t thinking about head coaching obviously. At that moment in time in particular, it was about the team trying to stabilize, get on track,” he recalled. “We still had much of a season to play for. So whenever those types of changes happen in a locker room, it’s very tenuous. The only thing I tried to bring to the table at that point was some stability and some focus on the games that we had in hand. I wasn’t trying to coach my way into a head coaching position. I was trying to keep the locker room and the squad performing through the interim. That’s why they call it the interim.”

So, considering what a successful stay he’s had in Dallas coupled with the fact that he has coached so many different squads, one has to wonder why other clubs haven’t expressed interest in Ferruzzi to fill their head coaching vacancies. Ferruzzi's current boss has a theory on that.

“Yeah, a little bit, [maybe he’s] flown under the radar and maybe not getting enough hype. I think this will be a year if FC Dallas does well he’s going to get a lot of recognition. [If the] reserve team does well, I think he’s going to get a lot of recognition,” Hyndman said.

However, as Ferruzzi learned during his time as a player and now as a coach, in the beautiful game much as it is in life, nothing is ever certain or guaranteed. So this trusted FCD lieutenant isn’t about to fret about whether or not he ever becomes a head coach in MLS or if he instead remains a trusted assistant for the rest of his career.

“If it happens, it happens. I think it has to be the right environment. It has to be the right fit,” Ferruzzi said. “At the same time, I think it might be a little undersold if you’re doing your job in a competent and professional way and you’re providing for your club. We ask all our players to take roles on the field and if you take your role and achieve it at the best possible level, there’s nothing wrong with being called a top assistant coach who knows his craft.”
FC Dallas has named Marco Ferruzzi as the head coach of FC Dallas Reserves. The FCD Veteran takes over for newly appointed Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja.

“We are very happy to have Marco as our reserve coach for the coming season,” said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. “He has worked very hard and continues to grow to become an outstanding coach in MLS. He has earned the opportunity to be the FC Dallas Reserve coach through his hard work and his knowledge of the FC Dallas way.”

Entering his eighth season with the club, Ferruzzi will continue to serve as an assistant to Hyndman while coaching the reserves. The 40-year-old compiled a 2-2-1 record as FC Dallas’ interim head coach prior to the hiring of Hyndman during the 2008 season. A former professional, Ferruzzi played 19 games in MLS with the Tampa Bay Mutiny during the 1997 season.

Ferruzzi holds a USSF “A” coaching license and played his collegiate soccer at the University of North Carolina from 1989 to 1992.

Who will FC Dallas look at to replace Barry Gorman?

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
2:29
PM CT
With the recent news that FC Dallas technical director Barry Gorman will no longer remain in that capacity, one of the bigger questions surrounding FCD this off-season centers around who they will name to replace Gorman? There are at least several in-house candidates or FCD could bring someone in from outside. Here’s a look at three possibilities from inside the organization:

IN-HOUSE CANDIDATES

John Ellinger --- Currently FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman’s top lieutenant, Ellinger does have some TD experience on his resume. While it came after he was relieved of head coaching duties during his time with Real Salt Lake, it is experience nonetheless. Ellinger also built a solid portfolio during his time working with US soccer, specifically on the youth development side. He’s also a guy that knows Major League Soccer in and out. But the big question with him would be would he want to take a gig that would take him out of coaching and might mean longer hours and more travel? He and Hyndman do already have a solid professional relationship, so that wouldn’t be an issue.

Marco Ferruzzi --- Ferruzzi is currently FCD’s longest-tenured assistant coach, having been with the club since 2004. He’s been an able lieutenant for three different head coaches in that time: Colin Clarke, Steve Morrow and now Schellas Hyndman. He even had a short stint as interim head coach between when Morrow was fired and Hyndman officially hired in 2008. Ferruzzi is a guy with a great grasp of the league since he has been coaching in MLS for the last eight seasons and before that, was a player. He would be a solid choice to move up, especially since he’s familiar with the Dallas organization top to bottom, but would he welcome what figures to be a much bigger workload as the club’s TD?

Oscar Pareja ---“Papi” continues to be a real asset to this organization and it’s been well publicized what kind of role he played in helping FCD land fellow Colombian Fabian Castillo earlier this year. He would be a great hire when it comes to scouting and eventually signing Latin and South American players because of his network of contacts from his pro career. He also knows MLS very well after stints as both a player and an assistant coach. The only question with the affable Pareja is whether or not he’d give up his gig working with the FCD reserves and youth academy to accept the TD gig? If he wants the job, then it could very well be his for the asking.

EXTERNAL CANDIDATES

I’m not going to use this forum right now as an avenue to speculate about who FCD might look at for this position, but here are several points to consider as they look for a new TD.

Someone familiar with MLS is essential --- Gorman’s familiarity with the college game was a big selling point but if he had a shortcoming, it was a lack of knowledge when it came to the league. As a consequence he had to learn on the fly. Having someone who knows the ins and outs of MLS and how to get quality players is essential for this position.

Maybe someone Hyndman doesn’t know --- It was well documented when Gorman was hired how long he and Hyndman had been friends. No decision in Frisco about the soccer side of the club gets made without an approving nod from the gaffer, so will Hyndman decide to change directions and bring in someone he doesn’t know all that well? Probably not.

Possibly someone without a college background --- It’s hard to fault the choice of Gorman given the initial logic. Hyndman was a former college coach who brought in a colleague for the TD job. And FCD’s first and likely only draft under Gorman did net them Bobby Warshaw, who is a bit raw but looks like a player, so Goerman’s background did pay off at least in that fashion. But other than drafting, how much does having a guy with a college background really benefit a team in MLS? I submit not all that much as anyone who gets this gig can scout players no matter the level. Since FCD went with an ex-college coach the first time around, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see them go a completely different direction this time.

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