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Schellas Hyndman: Shea Will Do 'Very Well at Stoke'

Brian Sciaretta talks to FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman about Brek Shea's transfer to Stoke City. They discuss injuries, a frustrating 2012, and the young player's bright, bright future.

BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
February 01, 2013
5:57 AM
Brian Sciaretta: It’s been an interesting few weeks but now that the deal is done, what are your thoughts on Brek Shea’s move to Stoke City? What does this mean for him and for FC Dallas?

Schellas Hyndman: We’re really, really excited about this opportunity. When you talk about what this does for FC Dallas, this gives us an opportunity to strengthen our roster. We’re a very ambitious club that wants to win championships and the sale of Brek is going to give us the opportunity do that.

You look at the last couple of days and how many people are going to Europe–Andy Najar, Kei Kamara, and now Brek Shea. I think it speaks to the strengths of MLS and the league continues to grow. Not just that either. Brek has been here at FC Dallas since he was 17. When he came here he was a very young player with a great upside and potential. I think what FC Dallas did was train him and develop him into being the player he is today. We expect him to do very well with Stoke City in the Premier League. We also realize that he has tremendous value, representing MLS and how well we’ve developed our players in this league and in this case at FC Dallas. But we’re also very excited about what this is going to do for our club going down the road.

Sciaretta: 2012 was a bit of a down year for Brek and he did not put up the numbers he did in 2011. How confident are you that 2012 was an abnormality and that he can regain the form he showed in 2011?

Hyndman: 2011 was, if you want to use the term, a breakout year for Brek. It was a year he really stepped up and scored some great goals for us. If you look at the Brek Shea highlight clips, a majority of them would come out of 2011. That’s what Stoke and a lot of other teams were looking at.

2012 was a down year for him and I think there are a couple of reasons for that. One was that expectations were a heck of a lot higher. The expectations for him after 2011 had people saying “that was just a starting point. Let’s see him do better.”

What a lot of people don’t understand is that there was a lot of frustration on his part. Not qualifying for the Olympics maybe kind of affected him mentally. Then there were the injuries he had to deal with. There was turf toe and he had surgery on that. He had a stiff groin or lack of flexibility that added to the frustrations of not doing as well and trying to live up to everybody’s expectations and pressures. I think that 2013 will be another good year for him.

Sciaretta: He had surgery in November and only resumed training recently. What’s your assessment of where he is medically right now?

Hyndman: I think he’s 100 percent medically. He passed all of our physicals here. Don’t underestimate how difficult it is to pass a Premiership physical. They’re investing a lot of money into a young player they’re expecting a lot of good things from. They’re not looking for an injured young player. He had to be fit and ready to go. Probably the area they didn’t see was just touches on the ball and those sorts of things because he’s just coming back training with the first team. That will continue to develop. Of course the game, playing 90 minutes, and the recovery rate–those types of things he will be working extremely hard to get top fit to join a team that it’s in midseason.

Sciaretta: How far away do you think he is from being his usual self in midseason form and ready to start games a high level?

Hyndman: I think it all depends. I think the first couple of weeks he is going to be biting at the bit to get onto the field. That maybe and explosion game for him and then maybe the body can’t recover from that. He will have a lot of enthusiasm [to start] right away. I think he’s a very, very talented young player that’s going to do very well at Stoke.

I think a couple of weeks maybe a little too soon. My mentality is thinking closer to a month or four weeks for him to really be at his best and meet the demands of the game. Don’t forget, and it’s a very important thing, that’s he’s joining a team in [the middle of their] season. He’s arriving halfway through the season coming off an injury and joining a group of guys that are at their best right now. So it’s going to take a little bit of time to adjust to that and the speed of play at their level.

Sciaretta: Did you ever think this deal was not going to go through or fall apart?

Hyndman: I think it goes back to Major League Soccer and how our league is continuing to develop young players into good players. The market is always going to be there to get a talented young player. So I think you’re going to see this more and more.

As far as this incident, Brek has been on the radar for a lot of teams. A lot of teams have come to us and we’ve had a lot of conversations about Brek Shea. We never felt like it was really the right time. It was a little bit rocky this past week because all the stars were trying to align themselves correctly to make the deal go through. All of a sudden it was “we want him over here tomorrow.” We made some restrictions. We didn’t want a player to go over there and go for a trial. I think Brek is a player that just is really too good for a trial. He is a national team level player and is one of the best players in the league. We were saying it would be okay for him to go over for a physical but we don’t think a national team level should go for a trial. We got past all of that and the deal came back to life and all the stars were aligned and it was meant to be.

Brian Sciaretta is a journalist who also writes for The New York Times Goal blog and Yanks Abroad. Follow him on Twitter at @BrianSciaretta.

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