Image: FC Dallas via Twitter
Today former FC Dallas player Brek Shea announced his retirement from professional soccer. (Ex-USMNT stars Brek Shea and Geoff Cameron announce retirement (msn.com)) Shea played for Dallas for just five seasons but he made a big enough impact that he earned numerous call-ups to the United States' National Soccer Team and made a leap to the EPL.
Although Brek played for several teams in MLS over the course of his 15 year career, this post is going to focus primarily on his stint with FC Dallas. He began his professional career with Dallas and on a personal note, he was one of my first favorite professional soccer players (more on that later on).
Image: FC Dallas via Twitter
Shea was drafted by FC Dallas with the 2nd overall pick in the 2008 MLS Superdraft. He was a Generation Adidas player. He had a small role with the club that year, making only 2 appearances (and they added up to just 17 minutes) in the 2008 MLS season. He played more for the club in 2009, making 19 appearanes (7 of those were starts), he scored no goals that season but he had 4 assists. (Brek Shea | MLSsoccer.com)
Image: Either me or my mom took this photo
2010 & 2011-
2010 was special. It was one of FC Dallas' best seasons. The club made their first (and so far only) appearance in the MLS Cup Final and David Ferreira won the 2010 MVP award. On a personal note, 2010 was especially special for me as it was the year I was introduced to FC Dallas. I went to three games that year, one against the San Jose Earthquakes, one against the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC) and a playoff game against Real Salt Lake.
The first match I went to was in June against the San Jose Earthquakes. Brek Shea scored a brace and Dallas won 2-0.
Video: FC Dallas via YouTube
Shea went on to score 5 goals and had 4 assists that season. He was in the starting eleven for the MLS Cup Final. His breakout year came in 2011. I wasn't able to attend any games in-person that year but I watched nearly every game on TV (I remember specifically not being able to watch the match against Vancouver Whitecaps because it was only on a special package).
2011 had its ups and downs. One of the good things from that season was Dallas bringing in an 18 year old Fabian Castillo. Among the bad was MVP David Ferreira suffering a season-ending injury just 6 games into the season. Shea stepped up and helped Dallas with their attack. He ended that season with 11 goals and had 4 assists.
I remember watching FC Dallas play LA Galaxy and the game having to stop due to a storm in the area. It was around the 83rd minute and the match was leveled at 1-1 when it was stopped. The match continued after roughly an hour but with it being that late, it seemed like a game that could've just ended as a tie. It didn't end that way though.
In the 88th minute, Shea made a deep run into the Galaxy's half. He chased down the ball and snatched it before the Galaxy could. It was unclear whether he was trying to cross the ball or was taking the shot but it ended up in the back of the net, lifting Dallas to a 2-1 victory.
Video: Major League Soccer via YouTube
His play in 2011 earned him 8 appearances with the USMNT. He was even a finalist for the 2011 MVP award, losing to Dwayne De Rosario of DC United.
Unfortunately, 2012 was a forgettable for both Brek and FC Dallas. The club did not reach the playoffs and in a 30-game season, had 12 losses. (2012 FC Dallas season - Wikipedia) Shea then left Dallas for Stoke City in the EPL.
Brek Shea was one of my first favorite professional soccer players. I wish I could've watched him play more in person, I really regret not going to matches in-person in 2011. I was able to meet him in 2011 though (very briefly). I used my birthday money that year to go to an FC Dallas summer soccer camp. Everyone who attended the game was given an opportunity to meet Brek in person and he even signed stuff for all of us.
I'm sad to see him retire but I am excited to see what he does next!