FC Dallas announces talent development partnership with Benfica

FC Dallas announced today a talent development partnership with S.L. Benfica that will bring together the two club’s academies that will – according to FCD – offer players a pathway to first-team soccer both in the United States and Portugal.

The two clubs will “collaborate to exchange coaching expertise that will allow young, talented players to experience different playing styles and cultures to enhance their personal and professional development.”

“Developing talent from within is one of our core philosophies at FC Dallas,” FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said. “Partnering with a club that shares our commitment and has the legacy and talent that Benfica possesses allows both of us to keep creating incredible opportunities for athletes and soccer professionals globally.”

Benfica and FC Dallas will also collaborate on sharing training methodologies and expertise.

“The United States is a strategic market for Benfica’s growth strategy”, Benfica Vice President Manuel de Brito said. “Soccer has been the fastest-growing sport among young people in the U.S. and Benfica has been very actively looking for opportunities for the last two years. We believe this partnership will help us increase our presence in the U.S. FC Dallas is the leading youth soccer academy in America, as numerous former FC Dallas Academy players are in the national teams of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. So, approaching FC Dallas was a natural step for Benfica. Possibilities are endless and I believe this partnership will be a success.”

“This partnership allows us to give our players worldwide exposure to one of soccer’s best academy programs,” said FC Dallas Technical Director Andre Zanotta. “Our shared philosophies make this an ideal partnership for our clubs.”

FC Dallas and Benfica partnered to execute the transfer of Croatian striker Petar Musa from Benfica on February 2, 2024.
“Player development is at the core of Benfica’s DNA, and we are proud of the work we have done in this area,” said Benfica Campus Director Pedro Mil-Homens. “We look forward to sharing our insight and expertise with FC Dallas and will surely learn from them as well. This collaboration will benefit many of our players, who can have new experiences and an additional career path in the United States”.
Benfica has won the award for best academy in the world three times at the prestigious Globe Soccer Awards in the United Arab Emirates.
The FC Dallas Academy is widely regarded as one of the best in the United States. Thirty-seven FC Dallas Academy players have signed for the club’s first team, the highest number in Major League Soccer while eight players currently hold roster spots. 

Left to right: FC Dallas Technical Director Andre Zanotta, Benfica Vice President Manuel de Brito, FC Dallas President Dan Hunt, and FC Dallas Head Coach Nico Estevez. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
Left to right: FC Dallas Technical Director Andre Zanotta, Benfica Country Business Manager Leonardo Scabin, FC Dallas President Dan Hunt, and FC Dallas Head Coach Nico Estevez. (Courtesy FC Dallas)


  1. Any idea what the specifics of this will look like? Will players spend time at both places or will coaches change squads temporarily to do “camps” of some sort? Other than possibly an inside track on scouting, would this give us a path to possibly sign some of Benfica’s young players if they aren’t quite Benfica ready but maybe are FC Dallas ready?

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