FRISCO, Texas – While plenty of new faces were expected on the first day of FC Dallas preseason training, it was the appearance of one of the club's veterans that made news.
Star winger Brek Shea, rumored to be involved in a transfer to Stoke City of the English Premier League, was present on Monday evening as FC Dallas opened preseason training. Shea was not made available to the media after the session, but head coach Schellas Hyndman addressed the rumors surrounding the 22-year-old.
“What I can say is, in the international transfer window it’s not unusual for teams to be looking for help,” Hyndman told reporters after training. “I think it’s a sign of the league and the quality of players that we have in this league. It comes as no surprise that some of our better players are being identified. But for us today, Brek is a member of FC Dallas and I think that any other comments I make at this time would not be correct.”
The Stoke rumors which started last week, gained steam on Monday after Stoke City manager Tony Pulis mentioned that the Texan was due to arrive at Stoke for what is reportedly a week-long trial.
"A year ago he was touted as the next great thing in America. I think he's fallen off the rails a little bit in some respects – I don't know why,” Pulis told BBC Radio. "I went to France last year to see him play for America. So we've got a chance to look at him – he's coming over and we'll see what we think."
Although he struggled through a 2012 season riddled with injuries and personal struggles, Shea did not look like a player coming off injury during Monday's light practice. He did not participate in full training, instead working on running drills a little over two months since November surgery to remove a bone from his right foot.
Shea's future may seem up in the air, but Hyndman is happy with his options at winger heading into the 2013 MLS season.
“When you look at our flank players right now, Brek, Fabián [Castillo] and Jackson, those are three really good players,” Hyndman said. “All of them have the ability to beat you one-on-one, they all have tremendous athleticism and I think any team would love to have three players of that quality here.”
Daniel Robertson covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com