FC Dallas become first MLS side to train in Abu Dhabi

Mahak Mannan 16:19 10/02/2014
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  • Training hard: FC Dallas players are put through their paces at Al Jazira Sports Complex.

    The UAE has become an increasingly popular destination for European football clubs seeking rest bite from the freezing winter weather, but now it seems even teams from warmer climates are descending on the Gulf Nation in order to take advantage of the excellent facilities on offer.

    FC Dallas players and staff travelled some 8000 miles to become the first Major League Soccer team to train in the UAE as they prepare for the start of the new season.

    The Texan team arrived in Abu Dhabi on 30 January and have certainly made the most of their trip to the capital; playing in a friendly match against Swedish side BK Haken, going into the desert for some dune surfing and visiting Ferrari World.

    Al Jazira have played hosts to the Toros and there was some hope that the two sides would be able to play a friendly in the impressive Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium but they were unable to schedule a date.

    However, it is still the clubs intention to play against the AGL side on their next visit to the country, which is likely to be at the start of next year.

    It is somewhat surprising that an MLS side has waited so long to make the trip to the UAE but following the recent acquirement of New York City FC by Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, there could well be more of a link-up between the two leagues.

    The FC Dallas players have certainly appeared to have enjoyed their time in the capital, with several of the squad taking to social media to reveal how impressed they have been with their trip to the UAE.

    Preseason can be a grind for sure but the experiences we gain and sights we see are second to none. #AbuDhabi

    — Chris Seitz (@Seitzy1) February 6, 2014

    Got some time off and visited the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi!! #amazing #beautiful pic.twitter.com/J55eWPEs8b

    — Victor Ulloa (@ulloa_victor) February 5, 2014

    While a number of European clubs and even international teams have made the trip in recent years, the positive experience that FC Dallas have enjoyed could lead to more MLS sides deciding to move their winter training camps to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

    Yousef Al Otaiba, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, was key in helping arrange the trip and he is hopeful that FC Dallas will be the first of many sides to come to the region.

    "This is a great example of the continued growth of the dynamic relationship between both countries,” said Al Otaiba. “FC Dallas will be the first American professional soccer team to come to the UAE and they are a great organisation to pioneer this effort."

    FC Dallas are currently preparing for the 2014 season opener against Montreal on March 8 at the Toyota Stadium.