The final two months of 2010 were an unexpected whirlwind for Dax McCarty.
Just a few days after starting in the 2010 MLS Cup Final for FC Dallas, the 23-year-old midfielder was picked up by Portland in November’s Expansion Draft. He would be a Timber for just a few hours before getting shipped across the country to D.C. United in exchange for Rodney Wallace and a draft pick.
“It all happened really fast,” McCarty told MLSsoccer.com. “Definitely a little bit surprising, and you don’t expect it. I’ve been in Dallas five years and was pretty happy there.”
Once the shock of that day wore off, the move became an exciting prospect.
“The way I’m looking at it is total excitement,” McCarty said. “[I’m] extremely pleased to be going to DC and I’m looking forward to helping restore the team where they should be, which is making the playoffs every year.”
A tenacious and energetic midfielder, McCarty is an experienced five-year MLS vet despite his young age. He left the University of North Carolina after his sophomore year, and until November had spent his entire MLS career with FCD.
Having spent significant time in MLS, he knows several players around the league – although DC happens to be one destination with a bit of an unknown. However, building new relationships is one of many exciting prospects McCarty is looking forward to.“Part of what’s exciting for me is to be able to meet those new guys and integrate into a new team, just make new friends,” McCarty said. “At the end of the day, you need to have good team chemistry to be successful.”
McCarty’s arrival in DC for the 2011 season will be delayed due to his inclusion in the US men’s national team camp to be held in January in Carson, Calif.
The camp, which starts on Jan. 4, and culminates with a matchup against Chile on Jan. 22, will mark the second occasion McCarty has been in a January camp and offers him another chance to show Bob Bradley what he can do.
“Anytime you get called into a national team camp, it’s an opportunity to prove yourself on the international stage,” he said. “This is a bit of a younger roster, a lot of really young guys that have been in MLS and done well.”
Even with just two caps to his name, McCarty is one of the more experienced players that will take part in the camp. While nerves are always factor in a camp with high stakes, he has a feeling that his confidence will get a boost having already been there once before.
“Anytime you go in there, it’s a little bit nerve-wracking. But having been there a couple of times, having been through a January camp, having played in a couple national team games, it calms you down a bit,” he said. “As a player, you never want to play nervous, but there are always a little bit of butterflies here and there because you want to do well.”
A native of Orlando, Fla., McCarty has spent most of his time in December with friends and family in his hometown. He also took a trip to Santa Barbara to watch his brother Dustin play in the College Cup and spent time with new teammate Chris Pontius, whom he first met at the national team camp in 2010.
Once his time with the national team concludes in the new year, McCarty will have a couple of days off before heading back to Dallas to tie up loose ends and get ready to move his life out to Washington.