Nine FC Dallas academy alumni named to USMNT

FC Dallas will feature heavily at July’s Concacaf Gold Cup as 19 past and present players were named to the preliminary rosters. Twelve of those players came through the club’s academy.

The Frisco club’s highest tally is with the US Men’s National Team with nine players who came through Toyota Soccer Center named by Gregg Berhalter, along with Walker Zimmerman whose professional career started with the team after being drafted in 2013.

Tanner Tessmann is all smiles at the 2021 secondary kit photo shoot. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Current FC Dallas players Justin Che, Ricardo Pepi, Jesus Ferreira, Paxton Pomykal, and Tanner Tessmann are joined by four players who have since left the club. Reggie Cannon (Boavista) and Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids) signed Homegrown deals, while Jonathan Gomez (Louisville City) and Shaq Moore (CD Tenerife) left the academy seeking European opportunities.

Gomez had made nine appearances for North Texas SC, including starting the USL League One Championship as a 16-year-old. The left back reportedly rejected an offer of a contract with the development club, seeking to join older brother Johan in Portugal.

Moore played under Luchi Gonzalez in the FC Dallas Academy, also featuring for the FC Dallas reserves in 2014. Dallas attempted to sign the right back as a Homegrown Player, but Major League Soccer vetoed the deal due to an obscure rule where the Homegrown claim is invalidated due to Moore representing the United States at the Concacaf U-17 Championships before joining the FC Dallas Academy. Moore subsequently left to play in LaLiga with Levante, and has played five times for the senior USMNT.

One other current FC Dallas player will head to the tournament, as Bryan Acosta takes his usual spot in the Honduran midfield for his fourth Gold Cup.

Three other nations benefit from the FC Dallas academy as Alejandro Zendejas (Mexico), Ronaldo Damus (Haiti), and Moises Hernandez (Guatemala) are also named to their respective preliminary rosters.

Zendejas made ten appearances for FC Dallas before a move to Chivas in 2016. The 23-year-old has started 29 consecutive games for Necaxa to earn his place for El Tri.

Damus left North Texas SC at the end of 2020. Originally brought into the FC Dallas Academy in 2018, the Haitian striker was the golden boot winner in North Texas SC’s championship year and has three goals and an assist in his last three games for Orange County SC of the USL Championship.

Hernandez completed his second spell in Frisco at the conclusion of the 2019 season, signing with current club Antigua GFC in familial homeland Guatemala.

Damus and Hernandez are among four former players who have played for FC Dallas and North Texas SC to represent teams in the preliminary stage, which will take place at Inter Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium – formerly Lockhart Stadium of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers – in the first week of July. The final rosters are expected to be named shortly in advance of the preliminary games in Florida.

USMNT preliminary roster for 2021 Gold Cup

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta), Bill Hamid (D.C.), Sean Johnson (New York City), Tim Melia (Kansas City), Matt Turner (New England)

Defenders: Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), George Bello (Atlanta), Reggie Cannon (Boavista, Portugal), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham, England), Justin Che (Dallas), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Chase Gasper (Minnesota), Jonathan Gomez (Louisville), Aaron Herrera (Salt Lake), Henry Kessler (New England), Shaq Moore (Tenerife, Spain), Erik Palmer-Brown (Manchester City, England), Kevin Paredes (D.C.), Donovan Pines (D.C.), Miles Robinson (Atlanta), James Sands (New York City), Auston Trusty (Colorado), Sam Vines (Colorado), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville)

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado), Cole Bassett (Colorado), Gianluca Busio (Kansas City), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional, Brazil), Caden Clark (New York Red Bulls), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota), Leon Flach (Philadelphia), Julian Green (Greuther Furth, Germany), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Djordje Mihailovic (Montreal), Moses Nyeman (D.C.), Andres Perea (Orlando), Paxton Pomykal (Dallas), Cristian Roldan (Seattle), Tanner Tessman (Dallas), Eryk Williamson (Portland), Jackson Yueill (San Jose)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto), Frankie Amaya (New York Red Bulls), Paul Arriola (DC), Corey Baird (Los Angeles), Cade Cowell (San Jose), Daryl Dike (Orlando), Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland), Jesus Ferreira (Dallas), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen, France), Matthew Hoppe (Schalke, Germany), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado), Rubio Rubin (Salt Lake), Chris Mueller (Orlando), Ricardo Pepi (Dallas), Robbie Robinson (Miami), Memo Rodriguez (Houston), Mason Toye (Montreal), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus)


  1. I just recently read an article about the Philadelphia Union surpassing the FCD Academy as the best in MLS. I thought it was BS and this just proves why FCD is hands down the best in the league. There are also plenty of FCD Alumni that have gone on to sign Pro Contracts in Europe, Liga MX, and MLS. has always shunned FCD for clubs in larger media markets. Just my opinion not sure if you agree.

    1. I completely agree. I made the point on Twitter than in the same week that was announced, FCD has nine players on the USWNT, one on the Mexican team, and three others (McKennie, Reynolds, Richards) listed in a Transfermarkt top ten of USMNT-eligible players who had the largest increase in their transfer values over the past year.

      If they’re basing it on a couple of results because the academy is doing so well that the likes of Che, Sealy, Pepi, and Redzic are being advanced out of it, that doesn’t tell me it’s gone downhill.

      1. I don’t think any credible MLS fan or pundit would argue that anyone other than FCD has the best academy overall in MLS right now. Fans might. I can see I can see one way in which Philadelphia might rank higher than FCD at this moment: how academy products are contributing to on-field success right now. By that measure, Philadelphia has a couple of homegrowns that were significant contributors to a team that won the 2020 Supporters Shield. Last year FCD didn’t enjoy as much success as Philadelphia and didn’t have as many homegrowns playing central roles. And of course RSL got more minutes from homegrowns last year than FCD, so if that was the ranking, FCD wouldn’t be first either. But if we’re talking about the MLS academy that is producing the most pro-level talent and the most national-team quality talent, it’s FCD hands down and it’s not really even close. FCD had far more academy alums on the US team that won Nations League. FCD has seven on the preliminary Gold Cup roster and Philadephia has one. Good on Philadelphia for developing the players they have. I’m a Nats fan so I don’t mind seeing good US players developed regardless of where they come from. But let’s see if they can do it consistently. A few years back NYRB were lauded because of Tyler Adams and Matt Miazga. And they had a couple of other decent MLS-level homegrowns too. But you don’t hear much about their academy anymore. Time will tell if Philadelphia’s academy will be consistent like FCD’s of if it will be more like NYRB’s.

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