Five young FC Dallas players will travel to Bavaria to train with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich as part of the clubs’ elite player development partnership. FC Dallas Homegrowns Thomas Roberts, Ricardo Pepi, Bryan Reynolds, and Edwin Cerrillo will be joined by North Texas SC’s David Rodriguez on a two-week training stint.
Roberts has already been on two such trips to Germany in 2018. He has been continuously linked with a permanent move to Bayern after Chris Richards made a similar move. While his attacking midfield position is one that Munich has a wealth of talent, there is strong speculation that this third trip serve mostly as a trial for the Arkansan. Roberts scored two goals in 20 appearances for North Texas SC and FC Dallas, making three MLS starts.
Reynolds was among the first players to take advantage of the development partnership. He trained with the Bayern U-19s in December 2017 alongside Paxton Pomykal and Reggie Cannon. Reynolds became the youngest signing in team history at 15-years-old and has really started to emerge as heir-apparent to Reggie Cannon at right back, while also providing depth on both wings. He made 24 appearances between FCD and NTX, recording a goal and four assists.
Cerrillo is the oldest of the traveling party at 19. He’s also the most experienced in MLS play with 11 starts in the FC Dallas midfield. Cerrillo also traveled to the FIFA U-20 World Cup. A year ago the Waco native wasn’t considered to be firmly on the radar for the FC Dallas first team. An impressive preseason thrust him into both a Homegrown deal and the heart of the midfield as part of a double-pivot. As the primary defensive midfielder behind Bryan Acosta, Cerrillo will be looking to emulate Bayern’s Angelo Stiller as a single-six.
Ricardo Pepi caps off an incredible year with the trip to Munich. The 16-year-old was the first signing for North Texas SC before scoring a hat-trick in the team’s first game. A Homegrown contract with FC Dallas and call-ups to the US U-17 MNT rosters for both the Concacaf U-17 Championship and FIFA U-17 World Cup all followed. Pepi finished with 11 goals for North Texas SC in just 13 games, as he was named number six on USL’s 20 under 20 list.
Rodriguez, younger brother of USL League One MVP Arturo, had a strong first year with North Texas SC. The 17-year-old appeared in 19 games for North Texas SC, scoring once and assisting twice. He also starred for FC Dallas in the Generation Adidas Cup, scoring three goals and earning a spot of MLS’ list of players to watch. With Rodriguez essentially graduating from the Developmental Academy early, the training stint will be a great chance to get some off-season reps in.
FC Dallas entered into the development agreement with Bayern Munich in February 2018. While there has been talk of movement from the Bundesliga side to North Texas, so far a loan has yet to emerge from the Germans. The primary function of the agreement allows FC Dallas players to train under UEFA certified coaches at the €70 FC Bayern Campus alongside players from the U-17s and U-19s who compete in the UEFA Youth League – the academy component of the Champions and Europa Leagues.