By nature, USL League Two is about very short cycles. Players come and go with college commitments and where they may decide – or need – to be based in their NCAA offseason. They mostly go on to play professionally at a level above or make that sideways step to the NPSL or UPSL.
Many teams start with an entirely different roster to the group of players that finish out the season before, but after a successful 2021, Texas United is focused on retention rather than retooling.
“I think the big idea was retention, right? We throw the recruitment word around a lot, and recruitment is very important, but also you can forget retention. What we’re really happy with is we retained a lot of talent, with the key talents we wanted from last season to come over this year. So it’s not like we’re starting from ground zero, like we typically do.”Arez Ardalani on his recruitment policy
A big loss will be the influential Papa Ndoye, who has three goals and three assists in 548 minutes for Dynamo Dos in MLS Next Pro.
TXU were able to bring back Adrian Renteria who recently helped DKSC into the second round of the US Open Cup.
Roughly a third of the initial registrations were returning players from the 2021 campaign with more expected to sign as their availability clears up.
After just one defeat in the second half of the season, Texas United overtook Little Rock Rangers on the final day to seal a first playoff appearance in the Central Conference Mid-South Division. An explosive first half by eventual champions Des Moines Menace on home soil brought the Texans’ season to an end in the first round.
As ever, Coach Arez Ardalani was hard at work in the long offseason since that July defeat, earning his UEFA B license in Germany.
Rumors continue to link United’s ownership group, NelTex Sports, with a new stadium near Fort Worth after Donnie Nelson’s group purchased a majority stake in the Austin Bold to go alongside United, the Texas Legends, and Dallas Jackals.
After playing home games at the University of Texas at Dallas last season, the team will move a few miles to Parish Episcopal School while still training at UTD. Coach Ardalani sees it as regaining home-field advantage after several games were moved due to adverse weather conditions just hours before kick-off.
Home advantage may be of great importance in 2022 as a divisional split saw Texas United separated from the other Texas teams as the Mid-South and new Lone Star Divisions become part of the Southern Conference.
The DFW side will travel to Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana starting with Thursday’s season-opener in Baton Rouge, LA to face LA Parish. From there they’ll travel on to Lafayette to play LA Krewe on Saturday before making a second trip across the state line the week after to play Blue Goose SC in Shreveport.
“I think the positive of this, and the timing of it, is that it’s going to act as sort of preseason trip for us in the sense that we’re all going to get to know each other on this trip, we’re going to bond a little bit.”Coach Ardalani on the road trips to start the season
Texas United’s home opener will see Mississippi Brilla make the trip to Gloria H. Snyder Stadium on Saturday, May 28th.