Dallas, Texas -- FC Dallas general manager Michael Hitchcock announced today that the club has officially named legendary midfielder Oscar Pareja as an assistant coach for the 2006 season.
Pareja ended a successful eight-year MLS career in October when he officially retired as a player from the sport of soccer. In his eight years in MLS, Pareja scored 13 goals and added 52 assists in 189 regular season games, with all but 13 of those being played as a member of the Dallas organization as well as 17 postseason games. In his final regular season game for the Hoops on Oct. 15 at Pizza Hut Park, Pareja scored the last goal of his MLS career much to the delight of the 18,021 fans who had traveled to Pizza Hut Park that evening.
"Oscar Pareja has been a standout player for FC Dallas and a great ambassador for the sport of soccer in Dallas-area for the past eight years. We're excited that Oscar will continue to be a member of the FC Dallas family as an assistant coach. We know that his commitment to excellence, drive of a champion and overall dedication to FC Dallas and the Hunt Sports Group will help us win championships," Hitchcock said. "Oscar will continue to serve as a positive role model in the community and will actively work on identifying the top local and international players while helping FC Dallas youth players develop into the top professionals in Major League Soccer. Oscar was one of the true great professionals in our league and we're confident he'll become one of the great coaches in Major League Soccer."
A native of Medellin, Colombia, Pareja was capped 11 times by his home country, scoring three goals in that time. He came to MLS midway through the 1998 when he was signed by the New England Revolution from his former club Deportivo Cali. Pareja played 13 games in three months for New England before being traded to Dallas for Damian Alvarez. His skill and leadership on the field quickly established Pareja as one of Dallas and Major League Soccer's premier players, while his warmth and openness to fans, as well as his ever-present smile, made him a fan favorite in the Dallas Metroplex as well.