Best XI | Academy Products (2020)

Ed Note: another post I originally wrote back in early 2019 but it needed an update badly.

The rules are simple, pick a Bext XI of players who have left the FC Dallas Academy. Beyond each Best XI choice, I’ve put a shortlist of nominees. They are in alphabetical order.

Let’s begin.

Forward: Rogelio Funes Mori

This one’s not even close. And yes, the Funes Mori brothers played for the FCD Academy. It wasn’t very long but they were FCD Academy players. Rogelio has played 321+ professional games at River Plate, Benfica, Eskişehirspor, and Monterrey with over 130 goals. (Depending on who’s counting, I went with Wikipedia for simplicity’s sake.) 1 senior cap with Argentina.

Ramiro and Rogelio Funes Mori with the FC Dallas Academy in 2008.

Nominees:

Ronaldo Damus – Leading scorer in 2019 & 2020 for North Texas SC. Haitian U20 and Senior National Teamer.
Jesus Ferreira – Current FC Dallas Homegrown. Career FC Dallas stats to this point, including playoffs: 55 games, 43 starts, 10 goals, 7 assists.
Johan Gomez – Former FCD U19 striker moved to Porto FC where he’s working his way up the ranks.
Charlie Kelman – This is kind of a cheat, he played for FCD Pre-Academy and FCD Premier. Moved back to England and joined Southend United’s youth set up before moving to their first team. Currently with Queens Park Rangers. US U18 and U20.
Santiago Munoz – Another “cheat,” Munoz played for FC Dallas El Paso before joining Santos Laguna where he recently made his La Liga debut. Mexico U17 and U20.
Ricardo Pepi – Led USL-1 in scoring before being signed by FC Dallas as a Homegrown. Career stats: 24 games, 4 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist.

Left Wing/Mid: Alex Zendejas

Alex Zendejas shows some Texas pride. (FCD Communications)

Originally from El Paso (pre-move to Chivas) or Ciudad Juarez (post-move to Chivas), Zendejas was FC Dallas’ 13th Homegrown signing. Made 8 appearances with FCD over 2 seasons before being sold for $500,000 to Chivas. He has made 8 Chivas appearances and played on loan at Zacatepec (32 games) and now Necaxa (14 games). Recently called into the Mexico U23 team.

Nominees:

Arturo Rodriguez – Scored the 2017 Dallas Cup Super Group winning-goal against Monterrey. 2019 USL-1 MVP and Young Player of the Year playing mostly as a left wing, but sometimes as a 10.
Shaft Brewer – Played for LAFC in 18-19 (4 games) and on loan with Phoenix Rising. Currently with Fram Larvik in Norway. Former US U18 and U20.

Attacking Mid: Paxton Pomykal

Can play as an 8 or a 10, or either wing. But for now, his best spot seems to be as a 10 (or free-8 if you want). Pomykal had a breakout season in 2019 and was named to the MLS All-Star team. US U20, U23, USMNT.

Paxton Pomykal takes part in the 2019 MLS All-Star game. (MLS Communications)

Nominees:

Emerson Hyndman – After leaving the FCD Academy, Hyndman spent a few years in Fulham’s youth team. Professional career at Fulham in the Championship and Bournemouth where he went on loan to Rangers, Hibernian, and then Atlanta United. Joined Atlanta full time in 2019.
Bryan Leyva – 1st FC Dallas Homegrown player in club history. Made 9 appearances for FCD before being let go. Caught on with Chivas in 2013-14 but didn’t play any games. Last seen playing NPSL.
Thomas Roberts – FC Dallas Homegrown career MLS stats: 6 games, 3 starts. Helped North Texas SC win the 2019 USL-1 Championship and continued to play with Los Torolitos in 2020.  
Devin Vega – Former FCD Academy player signed with San Antonio FC after graduating. Has since played for Phoenix Rising, FC Tucson, and now Real Monarchs. Has 1 cap for Puerto Rico, former US U17.

Right Wing/Mid: Dante Sealy

The fact that Sealy is the answer here says something about this position in Academy product history. A US Youth International, Sealy played 5 games during his inaugural MLS season or 2020. Just 17 at the time of this writing.

Nominees:

Coy Craft – 6 games for FC Dallas as a Homegrown. Last seen playing with Nyköpings BIS in Sweden in 2018 after stints with OKC Energy (on loan) and Miami FC 2.

Linking Mid: Weston McKennie

“The one that got away.” Bundesliga, Serie A, Champions League, and the USMNT. Moved from Schalke 04 to a tiny club in Italy called Juventus.

Weston McKennie with the FC Dallas Academy. (FCD Communications)
Weston McKennie with the FC Dallas Academy. (FCD Communications)

Nominees:

Kellyn Acosta – Former FC Dallas Homegrown now with Colorado Rapids. 175 MLS regular-season games, 15 goals, and 18 assists mostly as a linking mid. 23 senior US caps.
Chris Cappis – Blocked by MLS and the Houston Dynamo from signing with FC Dallas, he instead signed with Hobro IK in Denmark. USMNT.
Brandon Servania – FC Dallas Homegrown was a starter in late 2019 but has dropped back in 2020. Including playoffs, 31 MLS games, 18 starts, 2 goals, and 3 assists… so far. Plays as a 6 or an 8 with the US U20s. USMNT.
Tanner Tessmann – A new Homegrown for 2020, Tessmann famously passed up Clemson football to sign. He seemingly passed Servania on the depth chart. 19 games played and 9 starts in 2020. US U20.

Holding Mid: Victor Ulloa

193 MLS appearances and over 13,000 MLS minutes played – and counting – gets Ulloa this spot. FC Dallas to FC Cincinnati, to Inter Miami. The quintessential stay at home holding mid with a keep it simple philosophy.

Victor Ulloa, Texan at heart. (FCD Communications)

Other Nominees:

Edwin Cerrillo – Still just 20. Has made 11 starts for FC Dallas.
Diego Letayf – Former FC Dallas U19 and current Tigres U20. Mexican Youth International.

Left Back: Moises Hernandez

During his first stint with FC Dallas started 33 games as a left back. Hernandez also played some left back for Guatemala (16 caps). Between his first stint for FCD and his second, he became a center back. Loan stints with Comunicaciones, Deportivo Saprissa, Rayo OKC, and San Antonio FC. Further professional run at Comunicaciones in 2017 and 2018 before returning to FC Dallas. Signed with Antigua for 2020. Former US U20.

Moises Hernandez playing for San Antonio FC in 2019. (SAFC)

Nominees:

Aaron Guillen – 8 games played at left back over two seasons as a Homegrown for FC Dallas. Played at Tulsa Roughnecks on loan. He’s continued his pro career in USL with North Carolina FC and Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Jonathan Gomez – Aka JoGo. Former Academy U17 signed with Louisville City. WIll more than likely jump to Europe when he turns 18.
Niko Hämäläinen – Signed for Queens Park Rangers out of the FCD Academy. Played 7 games for QPR and has been on loan since to Dagenham & Redbridge, LAFC, and Kilmarnock. 2 caps with Finland, former Finland U18, U19, and U20. Has also been in a US U23 camp.

Center Back: Ramiro Funes Mori

Like his brother, he had a short stint at FC Dallas Academy before moving to River Plate’s youth team. Played 76 times for River, 55 times for Everton, and is now with Villarreal. 26 senior caps with Argentina.  He’s the first choice by a long shot.

Ramiro Funes Mori in MLS Sueno (left) and signing with Everton (right).

Center Back: Chris Richards

Richards gets the other center back spot by virtue of playing at Bayern Munich. Originally on loan to play in their U19s, Richards was transferred in 2019 and has since worked his way to Bayern’s first team. USMNT debut vs Panama (Nov. 2020).

Chris Richards playing for the FC Dallas U19s in the 2018 Dallas Cup.
Chris Richards playing for the FC Dallas U19s in the 2018 Dallas Cup. (Collodi Photography / Dallas Cup)

Nominees:

Nico Carrera – Former FCD U19 signed with Holstein Kiel.
Brecc Evans – One season at Cal Poly before signing with North Texas SC. Captained NTXSC to the USL-1 Championship.
Moises Hernandez – See above, these days he plays center back.
Jonathan Tomkinson – Plano native who played for FC Dallas and Solar before making the jump to Norwich City where he has since signed a pro contract.
Justin Che – One for the future. US Youth International and FCD Homegrown for 2021.

Right Back: Reggie Cannon

One season in 2016 at UCLA after leaving the Academy. MLS career: 67 games, 64 starts, 2 goals, 5 assists. Transferred to Boavista in 2020. US senior international.

FRISCO, TX – MARCH 23: FC Dallas defender Reggie Cannon (#2) dribbles up field during the MLS game between FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids on March 23, 2019, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky, 3rd Degree)

Nominees:

Shaq Moore – Left the FC Dallas Academy for a shot in Spain with Valencia but didn’t catch on. Has played 136+ professional games with Huracan, Oviedo B, Levante B, Levante, Reus, and now Tenerife. Has 5 senior caps with the US.
Eddie Munjoma – FC Dallas newest Homegrown out of SMU. Has yet to debut but played some with North Texas SC.
Bryan Reynolds – Homegrown. Signed at 15 as a wing but was converted to right back. Has had an explosive debut after Cannon’s sale. Rising fast.
Jaden Servania – Former FCD Academy played joined Houston Dynamo’s Academy. Now plays for Birmingham Legion and Puerto Rico U20.
London Woodberry – Signed as an FC Dallas Homegrown after playing at Maryland. Made 8 appearances for FCD in two seasons. Joined Arizona United after FC Dallas. Played 46 games for New England Revolution after returning to MLS. Spent 2018 with Nashville SC and signed with Austin Bold in 2019.

Goalkeeper: Jesse Gonzalez

101 MLS starts with FC Dallas. His domestic troubles have cost him his job with FCD but he remains the best Academy product goalkeeper. Was a Mexican youth international, he’s chosen to play for the US at senior level but has yet to receive a cap.

Jesse Gonzalez of FC Dallas. (FCD Communications)

Nominees:

Richard Sanchez – Won the 2011 U17 World Cup playing with Mexico. A former FC Dallas Homegrown (loan stint at Fort Lauderdale Strikers) who was sold to Tigres for a reported $1 mil. Did not play for Tigres but did have loans (back) to FC Dallas and Tampico Madero. Now back in MLS, he’s played for Chicago Fire and Sporting KC.
Carlos Avilez – Signed by FC Dallas as a “USL affiliate” player, he’s was basically an FCD practice player until North Texas SC game along. Former Mexico Youth International.