Commerce City, Colo. - New Rapids defender Anthony Wallace is only 21 years-old, but he’s already been a professional for 3.5 seasons.
So when FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman asked to meet with him after Thursday’s practice at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, he had a sense that he was being traded – which is what Hyndman told him.
In one way, “Wally,” as he is commonly known, began preparing for the trade the day before without realizing it.
“Actually, I traded in my car on Wednesday, and of course I found out I was getting traded the next day,” said Wallace. “So it’s kind of like a whole new start for me.”
Dallas used their first pick (9th overall) in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft on the then 17-year old. He joined the team with high expectations and high hopes.
However, halfway through his fourth season, he had only made 15 first-team appearances in MLS competition. So he's looking forward to the new opportunity.
“When I first came to Dallas in 2007, I had that feeling of being wanted and just wanted to be here (in Dallas),” he said. “Then of course when we went through the whole coaching change, it was hard for me to still feel that. It took a while, and then it was kind of just getting my hopes up, and then still had nothing come out of it. So it’s good to have that feeling back of being wanted.”
Wallace has been part of the U.S. National Team program for some time. In 2007, he started four of the U.S. team’s five matches at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. Because of his age, he was still a key player for the U.S. team going into the 2009 U-20 World Cup.
However, during a routine training session with FCD, only three weeks before the first game of the U-20 World Cup, he tore the meniscus in his left knee. The injury not only took him out of the World Cup, but he was also placed on the team’s season ending injury list.
“It was tough because of my situation in Dallas,” he said of the knee injury. “I wasn’t getting any playing time, wasn’t traveling, and the only thing I had to look forward to was the U-20s and those trips we went on. When I tore it in practice, it was just devastating.”
Wallace went back to his native Florida during the off-season and spent a bulk of the time working out at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.
“I wanted to make sure I came back fit, got my knee right again,” he said. “I came back in fit, did everything right, and I couldn’t ask for more – but it didn’t get me anywhere.”
A natural left-footed player, he knows the Rapids are looking at him to provide depth and competition at left back. But he’s also open to playing anywhere on the field.
“Wherever they are looking to play me,” he said. “Of course that’s looking like the spot (left back), and I’m willing to put the work in. I always want to be playing. It’s the only way to get better.”
Wallace is flying in from Dallas to Colorado on Friday evening and will be in attendance when his former team plays the Rapids on Saturday afternoon.