Meet Ugo Ihemelu

FCD’s newest defender has been in Dallas for a couple days, and regardless of the circumstances of his arrival he’s now a player for this team.  After training Wednesday Ihemelu met with a couple reporters.  Since most fans might be interested to learn what they got in exchange for Drew Moor we offer up the entire Q&A. 

Happy to be back home in Dallas?

Yeah, it’s always great to be back by family and friends.  I’m pretty familiar with the area.  I’m not really familiar with Frisco but I’m really looking forward to it.   I have to get used to this heat again that’s for sure.  Yeah, I’m really excited.

Hyndman has to be as familiar with you as anyone in this league?

Yeah.  I spent a few y ears with him at SMU, basically developed there as a soccer player under him.  So he knows more about me than any other coach I’ve played with.

That feel good that he wanted to get you back?

Yeah, it’s a lot less pressure on me cause he understands want I bring to the game and my style of play.  He’s been watching me since I’ve been in the league so he knows what to expect from me.  So that just allows me to play my game and do what I’m good at.

Can you describe your style of game then?

I have some speed.  That helps me a lot.  It helps me defensively and it helps me get into attack quite a bit.  Being in the league a few years has allowed me to gain some experience and really improve other areas of my game.

Moor said he was “shocked” by the move, did you know it was coming or was it a similar reaction for you?

I didn’t know it was coming, to be honest. 

I had heard rumors that the Rapids was shopping me around with teams in the league.  I spoke to the coach over there and he said, “No, that’s not true.  Whoever you’re getting your information from, they need to check their sources.”  So I put it out of my mind, kept playing soccer.

Monday morning I got a call from my agent, “Did you hear then news?”


“You just got traded to Dallas.”

I was like, All right.”

Where were you? Where you at home or at training?  You guys had just played on Sunday.

I was laying on the coach.  We played Sunday, but had regeneration on Monday.  I was laying on the coach, getting ready, getting my mind ready to go to practice and jog around in circles for regeneration.

It hit me, “You got traded.”  When he told me it was Dallas, that was the only thing that made it somewhat ok in my head.  Cause, one again, family, friends, and a coach I’m familiar with. But it was out of the blue.

I’ve known Drew for a bit, we both grew up here.  It was just completely unexpected.

Tough to go from a possible playoff team to one that’s out of it?

Yeah, you know.  Colorado was fighting and has a very good chance I think of making the playoffs.  They have some quality player, some great experience in the team, a great leader in Pablo, and right now they have two guys who are scoring goals in Conor [Casey] and Omar [Cummings].

But being here the last few days training and playing against this team, there’s a lot of talent here. A lot of skillful players.  Guys that like to get the ball, they’re not afraid to get the ball, they like to go forward and create stuff, they like to get goals.  It’s an exciting style of play. I just think there’s a lot of talent.  And there’s young players, a lot of young players.  So I just think there’s a lot this team can achieve.

Moor was a large part of the leadership here and well liked, how’s the reception been for you coming in?

It’s been really… guys have really welcomed me.  To tell  you the truth coming in I was really apprehensive cause I knew guys got along with Drew.  And I know drew, he’s a great guy.  You can’t say anything bad about Drew.  He’s perfect, basically.  Got to be honest, he’s a great guy.   On and off the field, he’s a great guy.

So I was apprehensive, with it being so short notice, happening so quickly.  With me coming in  so quickly.  It takes a little bit of time for everything to soak in.  And everyone was shocked by the move.  So I really didn’t know what to expect.  I know some guys are like… you’re loyal to your friends you know.  So they’re probably like, “What’s he bring, what’s he brining to the team.”

But honestly everyone’s been really kind to me.  Guys are like, “Yeah you can come stay at our place.” Cause I have to find a place. So it’s been really good, a nice welcome.

Having played for Hyndman in college, how do you think his approach, his demeanor, translates to the pro game?

I think he’s organized, he knows what he wants.  He has a style of play he’s trying to achieve.  Guys just have to jump on, jump right in and except what he wants and try and give that to him.  Cause he knows what he wants and if everyone jumps on the bandwagon of what he wants then we can achieve very good things.

Did you know anyone here, other than Schellas obviously?

I knew Drew from the past, knew Kenny from the past from going to camp.  I knew Pitchkolan from… he’s gone now.  I knew some guys who’ve been traded out of here.

You knocking off a lot of guys that aren’t here anymore…

MLS has a lot of turnover, I did know some guys.  I’m getting to know people while I’m here.  My brother actually, while he was here, he just moved out to San Francisco, he knows more guys on this team than I do. 

But I’m getting to know guys, it’s day by day.  It’s been really good to be honest.  Everyone’s been really been kind.  Have to polish up on my Spanish and Portuguese, cause a lot of guy speak Spanish and Portuguese on the team.

Talk to van den Bergh, he know like six languages.

That guy’s unbelievable.  He was talking to, who was it, Rocha and then he started speaking Spanish to someone else.  And he speaks Dutch also.  English.  I can’t really hear his accent.  I asked him how long he’s been here, I think he said three years?  I was like, “Where did your accent go?”

He said, “I left it. I left it at home.”

He’s another really cool guy.  Honestly everyone on the team has been really cool and really welcoming.

How much does it add to a team to have defenders who can  get forward, now you have one on both sides?

Yeah, Jair.  I been watching him.  He covers both sides. It’s a lot of work, but he can get up and down. 

I think it forces other teams to adjust the way they defend cause it really… if the outside back can force the outside mid to play more defense than attack, then it’s really going to help the team cause a lot of teams in MLS try and attack from the flank.  So if the outside mid’s to busy defending you got the upper hand I think.

Thanks and welcome back to Texas.


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