An FC Dallas Academy Snapshot – vs Solar in MLSNext

This past weekend, the FC Dallas Academy played Solar SC in the MLSNext league at the same time FC Dallas and North Texas SC were holding training camp.

I thought it might be an interesting exercise to look at FC Dallas top to bottom and talk about who is playing with different and unexpected groups at this time. So I did some digging and made a list of the players that I hear are currently being shifted up.

In this exercise, the results aren’t the point, although I will mention the scores I have (they are unofficial). 

The point is to show how FC Dallas moves players up their ranks to the highest level they can handle. They are trying to make pro players and the movement is part of the process.  FC Dallas loves to throw players into deep waters and see how they react.

Training Up with FC Dallas

Nighte Pickering (2005) – U17

With Jesus Ferreira and Ricardo Pepi at the Olympic team camp, FC Dallas needed some strikers in camp. But make no mistake, Pickering earned this chance as FCD could have picked anyone from their system. He’s been the 2005s leading scorer for four straight seasons including the U17s this year.

This kind of invite is the first step a player makes on the way to a Homegrown deal… but that is a windy road, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  This is a big opportunity for the young 16-year-old goal poacher.

Nighte Pickering trains with FC Dallas, March 3, 2021. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Antonio Carrera (2004) – U17

This is a name you will know as I’ve been talking about him for a couple of years. 6’3” and he’s just 16 – a U17 by age.  He’s trained with North Texas SC a fair bit and is in camp with FC Dallas right now.

I expect him to be one of two keepers with NTX this year and they should have plenty of time to decide on him before he turns 18 next March (class of ’22).  In my mind, he’s the best keeper in the system since Jesse Gonzalez.

Antonio Carrera trains with FC Dallas, March 3, 2021. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Training with North Texas

Grady Easton (2002) – U19

Easton is a center back who started a few games with North Texas SC at the start of 2020. He spent most of the year playing for the U19s and is a SMU commit.  He only joined FCD prior to this Academy season from Texans SC (Eric Quill’s old club).

Grady Easton defends trialist Sebastian Mendez during North Texas SC training, March 2021. (Courtesy North Texas SC)

Beni Redzic (2002) – U19

A left winger. As near as I can tell, Beni is with North Texas pretty much full-time and hasn’t been with the U19s at all. He’s a class of 2021 grad from high school and has the Bosnia and Herzegovina U18 call-up. So I do not expect him to stick around much past May.

You can see Redzic behind Derek Waldeck in this pic from attaining this week that NTX put on social media.

Beni Redzic (in pink) can be seen behind Derek Waldeck (blue with the ball) in FCD/NTX training in March 2021. (Courtesy North Texas SC)

Collin Smith (2003) – U19

Another player I understand to be with North Texas full time. He played right wing for NTX last year but I’ve suggested he would make a great converted right back. He’s a class of ’22 grad so he has another season as a U19 if he wants it but I imagine he will spend most of that time with Los Toritos.

Union Omaha defender Damia Viader attempts to slide tackle North Texas winger Collin Smith in the USL League One match at Globe Life Park. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

Cesar Garcia (2002) – U19

I just wrote about him in my college tracking post. He was supposed to go to SMU as he has graduated high school but choose to take a gap year and stay with the FCD U19s. He’s been training with North Texas but still goes back and plays with the U19s.

Cesar Garcia.

Josh Ramsey (2002) – U19

Josh is a center back who has also been training with NTX but like Garcia goes back and plays with the U19s on the weekends.  Ramsey left Solar SC prior to the ‘19-‘20 season to join San Antonio FC and came to FC Dallas for ‘20-‘21.  He’s a Notre Dame commit. He’s wearing #5 in the picture below.

Seth Wilson (left #1), Bailey Sparks (#8), Josh Ramsey (#5), and Jonathan Tomkinson (#4) with the US at the 2019 Nike Friendlies.

Jordan Jones (2005) – U17

Jones, you will have heard me talk about a lot. He’s only 16 years old and is a Tanner Tessmann like player. He got a US U17 call-up last February. He’s training with NTX but on the weekend he went back and played with the U19s… not the 17s, the 19s.  He’s one of the top players on my future Homegrown list.

FCD U15 Jordan Jones (in white) plays against Bayern Munich in the 2019 Bayern Campus Tournament. (Courtesy Bayern Munich)

FCD U19s – Lost to Solar 0-6

Keep in mind the FCD U19s (2002s and 2003s) have “lost” Ricardo Pepi (2003), David Rodriguez (2002), Dante Sealy (2003), Justin Che (2003), Jonathan Gomez (2003 – Lou City), and Diego Letayf (2002 – Tigres).  Along the way former US Youth International named Kyle Jordan (2003) has flat out vanished – honestly, I can’t find him anywhere – and Edwin Villarreal (2003) went to Pachuca and is now with El Paso Locomotive.

I already mentioned above that Jordan Jones is playing up with the 19s, also playing up with the 19s are…

Cesar “Danny” Elizalde (2004) – U17

Elizalde – as I mentioned in my converted attacker story – is a U17 who’s being tried at left back with the U19s. He’s a former US Youth International midfielder.

Danny Elizalde.

Ty Reynolds (2004) – U17

Ty is Bryan’s younger brother. He’s a right back and is also playing up with the U19s. He’s on the converted attacker list as well and made the move earlier than Bryan so he’s had more time to adapt.

Ty Reynolds, January 2019.

Jose Gutierrez (2004) – U17

Gutierrez is a winger/striker that joined FCD from Dallas Texans a couple of seasons back. He’s a U17 in age but is playing with the U19s. He has also trained with North Texas some but I’m not sure if he is right now or not.

Jose Gutierrez when he was with Dallas Texans.

FCD U17s – Defeated Solar 1-0

You will no doubt have heard me mention that the 2005s and 2006s are loaded. The 2005s are currently the younger group of the U17s but make up the bulk of the roster at this level.

The 17s were also missing several highly regarded players this weekend. Anthony Ramirez (2005) and Kevin Kelley (2005) are injured; Nighte Pickering (2005) and Antonio Carrera (2004) are with FCD; normal starting center back Adrian Anguiano (2005) is with the Mexico U16s; and Elizalde (2004), Reynolds (2004), and Guiterrez (2004) are with the U19s.

The 2004s have seen some departures too: Jonathan Dadzie went back to Sacramento Republic at the start of the pandemic, George Medill joined Sporting KC’s Academy, Berin Droemer went to Germany for a bit and when he came back he joined Solar, and Victor Fimbres went to Xolos when Coach Pareja did.

Missing all that talent, the U17s still won.

Despite how good the 2005s are, there is one 2006 playing up with them. This is a name you will have heard before.

Matthew Corcoran (2006) – U15

The highest-ranked midfielder nationally in the 2006 class and he’s a holding mid. If you want to know more about him you can read my 6-pack of “protect the investment” signings story. He’s on the left in this pic.

Matthew Corcoran (left) and Gabrial “Toro” Brandon of the FC Dallas Academy.

FCD U15s – Won 6-0

This is the other stud class, the 2006s. And remember their best player – Corcoran – is up with the U17s.  

Four other players have been elevated to train with the U17s in the morning sessions along with Corcoran but still play with the U15s: Gabriel “Toro” Brandon (CB – on the right in above pic), Henry Canizalez (LB), Alejandro Urzua (CM), and Julian Eyestone (GK). 

That’s 6’5” Julian Eyestone, by the way. He and Corcoran have already trained with NTX as well.

There’s one player who is playing up with the U15s from the U14s.

Brice Miller (2007) – U14

Miller is a striker or mid and the name I most often hear from the 2007s.  He was just recently moved up, this might even have been his first game with the U15s.  He’s an early bloomer, I hear – and the picture reinforces that, and scores a lot of goals. 

I have yet to see him play.

Brice Miller.

FCD U14s – Won 3-1

While FCD will, of course, have a good handle on all their kids, this group – the 2007s – is one I have yet to learn much about beyond having a list of names.  

Other than Miller (see above) the other name I hear a lot is midfielder Jeyden Arboleda who came to FCD from Texans SC U13s (Eric Quill’s old club) after a stint with Houston Dynamo at U12.

They do have one 2008 who plays up with them…

Zach Molomo (2008) – U13

Molomo is an athletic forward who plays as a striker with the 2007s.  He overmatches the 2008s and is up against a much greater challenge against 2007s, which is the entire point of playing kids up an age bracket.

FC Dallas U13a – Won 2-0

Now we’re down to a team I know virtually nothing about.  I don’t even have a full roster, just a couple of names. One of which is the aforementioned Molomo and the other is Jaxon Meese – who has also played up with the 2007s despite being quite small.

Ok, that’s it for this exercise. Hopefully, this exercise gave everyone a peek into how the FCD Academy works.


  1. Kind of a wonky question: when you say Miller is a striker, is that based on his goal output or on games you’ve watched or something you’ve been told? Because the only video I’ve seen of him was those handful of games in Mexico early last year, and he was playing in the midfield at that event.

    1. Just based on what I’ve heard. I have in my notes “F, goal scorer” but I can’t even tell you at this point who told me that. It’s all second hand at that level. He could also have changed positions too since I was told he was a Forward. Kids often change positions a lot at the younger levels.

      Edit: I added mid to his note.

  2. Patreon porn

    It’s fun hearing about these kids as they move through the ranks and then when they hit NTX, FCD or go abroad you’re like ‘oh yeah, I know who he is’

  3. This is great stuff, Buzz. Love hearing about these kids as they rise through the ranks, wherever they end up.

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