Drew Moor is heading to Colorado tomorrow, but was nice enough to give us some time on the phone today for a conversation. It’s been a long run for me watching Drew Moor, starting back at Indiana at the final four… or maybe even Dallas Cup without knowing it. Then scouting him at the combine, running into Drew and his father the night before the SuperDraft at a bar where I was eating dinner, chatting with him the next night after being picked. Then through the ups and down of a career at FCD that included several coaching and positional changes. Through it all Moor has been a class act and a consummate professional. He was always willing to talk on and off the record.
Here then is our last conversation before he jets off, the last chat as an original Burn supporter if you will.
First off, walk me through yesterday, how everything went down?
Yeah it’s kinda funny. I was talking with some of the guys about it, I mean I really hadn’t heard rumors or anything. I was pretty in the dark about everything. We had the weekend off, obviously without a match to recover from, and I came in Monday morning ready to go and changed into my training kit. Just kinda went through my normal routine in the morning, I was kinda headed out to the field ready to get training going and was told coach [Schellas Hyndman] wanted a word word me so I went up to his office and that’s when he told me. He made it sound like it had happened just before that real quickly, which is maybe why I might not have been given much of a heads up.
It’s a complete shock and surprising, and it caught me off guard. That being said it’s been a bit of a whirl wind the last twenty… thirty hours or so.
What did Hyndman tell you about why they felt like they wanted to move you for Ugo Ihemelu?
You know, coach talked with me for a while. I think he felt like he had a lot to say to me, he said a lot of good things to me. You know coach and I had a pretty good relationship, I felt like I had his back and I felt like he had my back. He was always very positive to me and talked to me a couple times throughout the season, as he did with the older guys. To be honest I thought that’s what he was calling me in to do.
He talked to me for a while and said a bunch of good things. He got right to the point, after I got in there, of what was going on. I don’t remember everything he said just because I was still a little bit caught off guard. I think that…. [pause] to be honest, I’m not that sure what his entire reasoning was. You know I don’t think he told me his entire reasoning, for whatever reason. But he did make it sound like it wasn’t just him, that he was having a hard time dealing with the fact that it was me that was being traded and that maybe it wasn’t totally under his control…
You know, whatever it was, he talked for a while and like I said I was taken a back a little bit. As I said in the first place, I was having difficulty taking in everything he was saying.
I don’t necessarily know why? I don’t understand the complete thing, which probably makes it a bit little harder for me.
Given your story about being a supporter of the team from the early days, even going to the first Dallas Burn games, I expected you to play your entire career here. Any thoughts on that as you move on?
Yeah, of course. I always could see myself as staying my whole career here. Obviously when you’re going through it’s a while different thought process, but I never saw myself playing anywhere else at the time or at this moment. Once I realized I wasn’t going to be here the whole while, that’s when it hit me, “gosh, you know, I thought would be here my whole career.”
It’s definitely disappointing to not be staying anymore with a team I care for so much. I’ve put so much energy and effort into, and supporting from day one.
At the same time, I’m extremely excited to step over to a team who’s kinda opened up their arms and show interest. That’s right there in the playoff hunt. I just want to let Colorado know that I’m excited to accept the challenge and excited for the opportunity. I want to put what’s happened in Dallas behind me and I’m looking forward to coming there and hopefully joining a winner.
That’s got to be exciting, joining a team that has some nice pieces in place?
Several of coaches, several players called me yesterday, welcomed me, and said good things. It made me excited to get there, I’m looking forward to it. Gary Smith called me, Paul Bravo called me. It made me want to go to a team that’s kind of saying, “come on over,” you know? I’m excited, I’m very excited about that and I definitely want to separate my personal life here, the loyalty that I do feel here, and move forward with my life in Colorado.
It’s an exciting time and at the same time it’s disappointing, but the mixed emotions will end as soon as I step on a plane tomorrow and head for Denver.
You’ve played for a couple different coaches here in Dallas now, Schellas, Colin Clarke, Steve Morrow, and even Marco Ferruzzi. Can you compare Schellas to some of the other coaches you’ve had here and maybe talk about some of those guys?
Yeah, I think I’ve played for three, including Marco [Ferruzzi] four, coaches that taught me so much on and off the field. Obviously Colin [Clarke] I feel a special place for as he drafted me and somebody a lot like Steve [Morrow], and even Schellas [Hyndman], they always had my back. Other than my first year I feel like I’ve played just about every minute that I was available and that shows a lot of loyalty and faith in me that not all players get from their coaches. I really do appreciate how all thee of them showed faith in me whether it was as a right back or a center back, or a couple times as a left back, and even in my first year as a central midfielder, I think they always had my back. That’s important for a player to feel from their coach.
I really liked Steve. Steve was a player’s coach and wanted guys to be happy, wanted guy to be sure they were fighting for, not just themselves, but the team, and the coaching staff, and the whole organization; which I really liked.
You know, Schellas came in and I learned a lot from him. He’s a great human being and somebody I’ve know about for a long time being from the Dallas area, and I know he’s had some very successful teams at SMU. I wish nothing but the best for him as well.
Speaking of playing multiple spots, has Colorado told you where they want you to play? Inside or outside?
No, when Gary Smith called me yesterday it was pretty short. He was very professional about it. He said he was excited to have me. I think he had a good with Ugo, he made it sound like it was tough for him to lose Ugo, which I can understand. He’s a great player, and somebody I know pretty well.
But there wasn’t much talk about where I would play, he just said he was excited to have me and that’s all I could ask for a first conversation with him. I just plan on going up there, hopefully show him what I can do, whether it’s a right back, whether it’s a center back… like I’ve told you so many times, I’ve played both as much, probably about equally now in the league that I feel comfortable at either way.
I just want to go, make a good first impression, be professional about it, make friends with the guys off the field, and show them on the field that I mean business. I want to step right in and help these guys continue their playoff hunt.
I’ve talked to a couple people that have said your Dallas teammates where “gutted and disappointed” yesterday about this whole deal, have you talked to any of the guys since then?
Yeah, I actually stopped up there later on that morning, when I knew they were going to be coming off the training field. I had to go get some stuff and take care of some stuff up there anyway. A bunch of them, just about all of them have called me or texted me yesterday. Especially I talked to some of the older, veteran guys who I’ve know for a while. Dave [van den Bergh] called me, Dario [Sala], Pablo [Ricchetti], Dax [McCarty]… Josh Lambo… I’ve made so many friends with all of the guys up there. I stopped up there this afternoon to pick some stuff up and a bunch of us went over and had lunch and just shared some.
Having been here for a while, and now being an outsider, what do you feel has gone wrong with the team this season? What do you think the problem is with this team?
You know I… it’s definitely been more of a roller coaster ride, more of a grind this year than in previous years. To be honest, as the year’s gone on, I’ve tried to put a finger on it and it’s been tough to put a finger on it. We definitely had some injuries which changed things, epically in the back. We’ve had some lapses in concentration that have haunted us. We’ve given up late goals that have given up wins and lost some points the way you shouldn’t in this league. I can’t exactly put my finger on why we were so far out of the playoff picture by the time I had left yesterday.
It’s tough cause there are great players there, great characters. It’s tough to put a finger on it.
I know you are a guy who has supported the coach all along, do you think Hyndman had enough support from enough of the team in the locker room?
Um… I don’t know. It’s tough.
I think a lot of people think this team didn’t have an identity, didn’t have a clear leader. But a lot of people that say that kind of stuff aren’t in the locker room on a day to day basis. We certainly had, like I said, great characters and people in leading roles.
I definitely think it’s important that the coaches and players have each other’s back and I don’t know if that was always there. It was definitely hard at time after tough losses, like say New York, a game that we were kind of out to win and a game we felt like there was a chance to get three points and we don’t do it. And for whatever reason, like I said it’s hard to put a finger on it, but you need to have a team that can step up and rise above whatever’s going on internally or externally and win a game like that. It’s just kind of a game that might have described our entire season to that point.
It’s important that the coaches and players have each other’s backs and maybe we didn’t always have that this year.
You’ve talked a lot about how Morrow was a players kind of coach that people liked to play for, as Gary Smith has a reputation for being. Hyndman, to my experience, seems a bit more of a stand off’ish, kind of a separated coach. Do you think that makes it hard for players to embrace and feel like, “I’m gonna play for this guy, ” since he was such a contrast from Morrow?
I think so. He [Hyndman]’s definitely different than any professional coach that I had at that point. Obviously his first year he came in and to Schellas’… I’m gonna say credit, or however you want to say it… he’s coming from an environment where it’s his college kids, and its’ very different, and he was extremely successful there. And he’s coming into a locker room where guys are kinda set in their ways and grown men who have families and stuff… and I thought he sat back a little bit and wanted to absorb a little bit of what was going on. He didn’t come in immediately and try and change everything, which I gave him credit for.
But yeah, I definitely think he’s a different coach than Steve or Colin and I think that’s something that just might take time with him because, like I said, he was coming from twenty-five, thirty plus years of college soccer and it’s not an easy transition.
I wondered how that would play with pro player who are used to a hands off, you take care of y our business, type of approach when he’s such a hands on coach with breaking down of individual jobs by position and everything.
I think its’ important as a coach, if there’s anything I’ve learned, that players want to express themselves… express themselves to a certain extent… players aren’t machines. Everybody is an individual player. You look at some of the best teams in the world… in Europe, especially in Europe, and you see players who express themselves. They may mess up every once in a while.
It think it’s more, especially in MLS where there’s a lot of different guys, a lot of different ages, to let players express themselves. Have a certain system but give them some freedoms and maybe we lacked that at times this year.
Is that something that is more the nature of the way Hyndman coaches or is that the nature of this team?
I think maybe in the past we had a little more freedom than in the last year or so. It’s tough, obviously, when you’re losing games that you feel like you shouldn’t lose, to become hands on.
I know coach wants nothing but the best for this team. He wants to be successful, he wants the organization to be successful, he wants to make the playoffs, and human nature is “well, what can I do to make this team better.”
But I think there’s got to be a fine line in between, maybe it’s time to let some of the guys express themselves a little bit.
You had a good run here, any final thoughts, any message to fans?
Obviously to Colorado I’m extremely excited to come there and join a team that seems to be moving in the right direction, as does the organization as a whole. A team that’s fighting for a playoff spot, I think if the league were to end today they would be in the playoffs, so that’s always exciting.
But I’m definitely disappointed, and I’m finding I am still disappointed, to leave the team team I’ve supported since day one. I felt like I’ve put a lot of life, a lot of energy and love into FC Dallas so in that regard I am disappointed.
I’ve made so many good friends. played with so many talented, good players that I still keep in tough with, and hopefully will continue to keep in touch with. I’ve played for some great coaches and I was here with my family. They are very much have mixed emotions about it too, but I’m definitely going to have to separate the professional from the personal. But like I said, when I step on that plane tomorrow and head for Denver, I’ll be a Rapid and I’ll be ready to go. And I’ll be excited for the challenge.
Thanks Drew, good luck in Colorado.