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FC Dallas and Óscar Pareja officially part ways

Pareja leaves the club he’s managed for the past four years as rumors swirl around his links to Club Tijuana

MLS: Chicago Fire at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When replacing a manager, there’s always a dance to be done. Club Tijuana has been looking for a dance partner since dismissing Diego Cocca. Óscar Pareja looks like he’s ready to dance, as FC Dallas announced they had mutually parted ways with the man who has been at the helm since 2014.

In the accompanying press release, Pareja said “This was a difficult decision for me and my family. FC Dallas has been our home for many years, but we felt it would be best for us to seek a different challenge which enables me to keep growing as a coach.” That “different challenge” is widely believed to be the open position in Tijuana.

I asked Jon Arnold of Goal.com about the (possible) impending move. Arnold covers both FC Dallas and Liga MX, so he is uniquely positioned to understand what Pareja could bring to TIjuana. He said “For me, it’s nothing but positives. Tijuana gets a coach who wants to play a much more attacking style than Diego Cocca ever did. Pareja may have fallen short in the playoffs with FCD but Xolos haven’t even been getting to that point. At a club that may be more willing to take more risks in the transfer market than FCD ever did, you have to think Pareja will be able to get some gems from South America more in line of the Benedettos and Guido Rodriguez of old rather than Xolos’ recent disappointments. Plus, there’s his wizardry with the academy - another place where Xolos have resources that can be mined.”

Pareja’s work with youth players should give Xolos fans hope. Tijuana's academy is flush with talent. This year’s U20s team is 8W 3D 5L and has qualified for the U20 Liguilla. Carlos Higuera and Daniel López are currently with Mexico’s U20 team, and Luis Martínez and Antonio Nava have recently featured for them. Daniel López has five goals, Samuel López has four, and Nava scored a goal in his first team debut in Xolos’ last game against Monarcas Morelia. Nava joins Alejandro Guido, Jesús Angulo, Luis Chávez, Hiram Muñoz, and Edson Alvarado as players on Tijuana’s first team who came up through the Fuerzas Basicas.

Will Parchman of The Athletic echoed Arnold’s sentiment, tweeting “Every Homegrown in FCD history, all 23 of them, were either coached by Oscar Pareja at some level or signed by him. Probably the single most impressive coaching footprint in MLS history.”