North Texas Fire Head Coach Javier Cano
The first year head coach's dismissal comes after a bad run of games, never quite seeing North Texas Soccer Club fulfill its goals.
FC Dallas today announced the dismissal of North Texas SC Head Coach Javier Cano.
Assistant Coach John Gall steps in as coach for the rest of the season.
Javier Cano looked like a strong fit to grow North Texas SC’s relationship with the senior team and fulfill a vision of giving young players competitive opportunities when announced earlier this year. Cano, like Nico, is originally from Spain. He spent a lot of time in the youth systems of various clubs, domestic and abroad, guiding young players in their development. He also knew Texas from his time in the Austin FC system. It seemed like he and Nico shared a vision for bringing along young players and instilling a shared tactical system across the Dallas squads.
Unfortunately, the season has not been kind to Javier Cano and North Texas. The team is 11th place in the MLS Next Pro Western Conference. Their most recent result was a disappointment at the hands of Houston Dynamo 2. The defense has been particularly abysmal.
Off the field, from my limited interactions doing pre-game and post-game coverage, Javier was talkative, energetic, and enthusiastic. His personality made him approachable to reporters, and from a distance, players. He always found positive things to say about his team, even when they came up short.
From how he talked and how North Texas was going about its approach this season, it appeared that Cano would see out at least the first year, despite the tough results. While any team wants to compete for playoff chances and trophies, the sheer number of academy kids getting opportunities to break through with North Texas should indicate that FC Dallas wanted to grade this year on a curve. The team’s roster is very thin.
In addition, with FC Dallas undergoing an injury crisis and limiting the availability of senior team players like Mulato, Kamungo, Norris, Korca, Endeley, and others, Cano was left with no choice but to turn to academy level kids who faced off against more seasoned and older players.
Of course, that could be seen as an excuse when the team managed in several games to place themselves in the hole in the opening minutes or coughed up late leads. At some point, Cano, like any head coach, rises or falls by what he can get out of his team.
Questions will linger for me. Did Cano lose the locker room? Did this recent run of poor form reveal fissures in his relationship with other FC Dallas staff? Or is this an indication that FC Dallas simply has ideas to move in a different direction?
In particular, the match against Tacoma Defiance resulted in a very frustrated Javier Cano telling media that players must “show up every single second”.
I imagine Cano will have an opportunity to land in a youth system again somewhere in Major League Soccer.
As for now, familiar coaches John Gall and Michel will continue to guide North Texas as they try to put together a second half of the season resurgence this weekend.
AFTERBURN SOCCER is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.