Intriguing candidates for FC Dallas college Homegrown signings

The NCAA season is winding down and the FC Dallas offseason is fully underway, so it’s time once again to consider potential college Homegrown signings.  FCD has, over the years, signed a few homegrowns out of college including seniors like Eddie Munjoma or underclassmen like Brandon Servania and Reggie Cannon.

For potential signings this winter, I’ve included one underclassman who jumps out at me and two seniors.

Three Potential College Homegrowns

Kevin Bonilla – Right Back

Portland, Freshman, 5’8”, 158 lbs

You may know Bonilla from his two seasons playing right back (and some left back) for North Texas SC as an Academy player in 2019 and on an amateur contract in 2020 when he delayed his enrollment at Portland due to the pandemic.

Kevin finally joined Portland earlier this spring – oddly playing 11 minutes in just one game – and played his freshman season this fall starting 16 of 17 games with 1 goal and 3 assists.  Kevin has been in the US Youth National Team system up to the U20 level and has even trained with the US U23s in the past.  He’s also Honduras eligible.

I fully believe he will be a pro and should be a homegrown, the question is just when.  The answer might depend on the FCD offseason changes. If Justin Che is sold, Bonilla might be the right replacement at the right time.

Kevin Bonilla (#19) drives past Shak Adams during the 1-1 draw between North Texas SC and FC Tucson, September 19, 2020. (Craig Marcho, 3rd Degree)

Holland Rula – Left Back

Wake Forest, Senior, 5’11”, 175 lbs.

A left back with 39 starts in 69 appearances for the powerhouse Demon Deacons. With Johnny Nelson’s injury and Ryan Hollingshead turning 31 this year it might be worth looking at a left back.  This spot likely would have gone to Jonathan Gomez (JoGo) last year had he not signed with Louisville City instead.

A good defender and crosser, Rula would be a classic-style defensive outside back but would probably lack the offensive punch of Hollingshead as he notched just 1 goal and 3 assists at Wake.

Holland Rula (on right, #4), Wake Forest.

Daniel Evans – Right Wing or Forward

Kentucky, Senior, 5’10”, 170 lbs

A consistent offensive threat with 18 goals and 8 assists in 66 games and 47 starts over four seasons with the Cats.  Three-time All CUSA selection, 2nd team in 2019 and 3rd team in 2020 and 2021.  Evans has consistent production in college, seems to stay healthy, has plenty of pace & athleticism, has solid ball skills, and was a pretty strong Academy player with a vertical type game.

Evans was a member of the 2017 FC Dallas Academy side that won the Dallas Cup.  He played some USL-2 with Texas United, NPSL with Denton Diablos, and in the Roja League with Denton Diablos Estudiantes.

Estudiantes midfielder Danny Evans (left) avoids the slide tackle from Premier Legends defender Julian Hinojosa in the Roja League match at Texas Women’s University. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

Draft Late – Invite to NTX Camp

I’m mainly listing this next player because I know I will get asked about him.

Brayan Padilla – Forward/Wing/Attacker

Maryland, Senior, 5’11”, 160 lbs

Originally from Ciudad Juárez via FC Dallas El Paso, Padilla was a creative and dynamic player for the Academy with lots of promise.  He was named Developmental Academy U15/16 Central Conference Player of the Year.  He’s been high on my tracking list for years and is a former US U17.

He entered Maryland already injured and couldn’t contribute much as a freshman. Then during his sophomore year of 2019, one that was looking quite promising, he tore his ACL. His junior season got truncated by the pandemic and now in his senior campaign, he’s only started about half the games.  Just 22 starts in 43 appearances in four seasons at Maryland with 4 goals and 3 assists.

Like Gio Montes de Oca last year, it’s too much risk to sign him outright. But FCD should grab him late and invite him to camp with NTX.  Give the kid a shot to rebuild his career.

Brayan Padilla (#70) celebrates scoring for Maryland.

Is That It?  Just four?

It is for now, but big picture going forward… no.

There are a handful of players I’m tracking in college that are quite interesting. Depending on their progression they could become potential Homegrowns down the line. Some of them have a better chance than others to get there. 

But that’s a different list for a different day.

2 Comments

  1. No Josh Ramsey? Minutes-leader and starter from the opening game as a true freshman LCB (a position where true freshman aren’t common) for the ACC champs and the #4-ranked team in the country? That’s up there with Servania’s freshman year at Wake in terms of how impressive it is.

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