FC Dallas has finalized the signing of Franco Jara, making an official announcement on Tuesday morning.
FC Dallas had made facilities available to Jara to train although now he can formally participate in team activities. His eligibility to play in July’s MLS is Back Tournament is pending receipt of his P-1 visa and international transfer certificate.
Argentine striker Jara has been a long-term target after firing Pachuca past the Hoops in the 2016/17 Concacaf Champions League semifinal. After signing a pre-contract agreement, Jara was in scintillating form for los Tuzos scoring seven goals in his final six games before COVID-19 brought a premature end to the Clasura.
Despite turning 32 a week into the resumption of MLS play, Jara feels that he can improve with FC Dallas, and also help improve FC Dallas’ young core.
“I have been able to win a league and win a Concacaf championship,” said Franco Jara through a translator. “I have been able to play a Club World Cup as the top scorer in the entire history of the club, and the truth is that it makes me happy because I believe that experience can be transmitted to young people. As I said to Director [Luchi Gonzalez] of FC Dallas, I do not come to waste time. I come to improve as a person, as a soccer player, and that is my goal at FC Dallas. To help in whatever way I can from my soccer part and as a person too.”
FCD President Dan Hunt has spoken with great admiration of Franco Jara since the CCL game in early 2017, bidding for Jara a number of times before his contract with Pachuca expired this year. Jara never read too deep into the transfer rumors but Hunt’s words helped the club’s latest Designated Player feel welcome.
“The truth is that when, the president [Dan Hunt], told me that he wanted me to be part since 2017 in Concacaf [Champions League] it made me happy because for so long, he did his best to make me part of this institution, and I am truly grateful for that.”
Players arriving in Dallas vary heavily in how much they research the area before landing at DFW. Fafa Picault had a list of neighborhoods and restaurants to explore, while Zdenek Ondrasek felt it better to get to Texas and just experience what Dallas had to offer with no expectation. Jara mentioned that he had spoken to compatriots and former FC Dallas players Maxi Urruti and Mauro Rosales about the club, as well as former Liga MX rivals Alan Pulido and Rodolfo Pizarro about their experiences in the league since joining Sporting Kansas City and Inter Miami.
While Frisco has been on Jara Watch since the January announcement, the former Benfica forward has been admiring Luchi-ball from afar.
“What I see with Luchi is that he loves to play a super intense style, which as a player motivates you because he likes vertical ball possession,” Jara said through a translator. “I hope to be at the level of what the coach asks of me and adapt as quickly as possible to the team.”
Dallas presents a streamlined integration compared to other MLS markets with the large number of Spanish speakers in both the area and the team. Jara highlighted this in mentioning how his family will settle in, in terms of schools and access for his children to the FC Dallas academy. For himself too, Jara mentioned team mates sending messages that they would make themselves available to help as Jara and his family begin to learn English when settled in.
“He’s been integrated socially in the Zoom meetings and there’s already been some banter which has been natural,” said FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez. “We have a Whatsapp group which has been an opportunity that he’s been involved in with the team. Now in person, with an opportunity to present him to the group in person. It almost felt like he’s been here for a while.”