FRISCO, Texas -- FC Dallas signed Club America defender Duilio Davino to a two-year contract on Wednesday, a move team officials expect will shore up their defense and appeal to their Hispanic fan base.
Davino, a central defender, has made more than 80 appearances with the Mexican National Team and more than 320 appearances with Club America, arguably the most popular club in Mexico. He is expected to replace former FC Dallas central defender Clarence Goodson, who was selected by San Jose in the expansion draft.
"We are delighted to add a player of his immense quality to our defense and to our team," FC Dallas coach Steve Morrow said. "This team needs a leader in the back and he will provide that."
The 31-year-old Davino signed a standard two-year deal. His contract does not fall under the designated player rule that allows each club to sign one player who is not subject to salary cap restrictions. Last year, FC Dallas signed Brazilian midfielder Denilson under that rule but chose not to renew his option after he produced one goal and no assists in eight games.
Team officials saw how popular Davino is over the weekend when Club America played an InterLiga match in FC Dallas' home stadium. Nearly 19,000 fans attended, about 4,000 more than the average crowd for an FC Dallas match.
Nearly 27 percent of the six million residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area are Hispanic, and nearly 22 percent are Mexican, according to census figures.
"Without a doubt he is probably one of the more popular Mexican soccer players in this market," FC Dallas General Manager Michael Hitchcock said. "He almost has a rock-star status."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press