Cal Jennings has been a name that has been talked up on 3rd Degree since Buzz watched Jennings and new FC Dallas Homegrown Eddie Munjoma trade goals in a 2-1 extra time win for SMU in the NCAA Tournament in November.
That was his third game in two months against SMU, with the striker scoring once again for the University of Central Florida in Dallas in a 3-3 back in October. For the fourth successive season Jennings recorded four assists, and he backed up a 20-goal junior year with a further 18 in his senior year as he was named a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy.
“To come to FC Dallas is awesome – the owner basically propped up the whole league – the reason MLS is a thing is because of Lamar Hunt so that’s exciting in and of itself. Also, the opportunity for young players to get some playing time there is exciting.”Cal Jennings speaks to FC Dallas after the MLS SuperDraft
Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez describes the 17th overall pick as a mobile nine who can play on the right wing, a similar profile to Ricardo Pepi. While meetings will happen throughout preseason to determine targets for players, Jennings is looking to contribute where he can.
“First thing just to be able to contribute to the team, so anything I can do to help out get on the field and, or if it’s off the field and supporting the guys, that’s what I want to do.”Cal Jennings
One option that is available to SuperDraft picks is North Texas SC. Dallas has drafted players who they considered good prospects that simply didn’t fit the MLS roster. Chris Lema has recently signed for New York Red Bulls after playing two seasons with their USL Championship team. With Dallas not able to provide a contract and place to develop, New York were able to offer that opportunity to the 2018 second round pick. We saw Callum Montgomery and Johnny Nelson utilize North Texas SC to enhance their chances with FC Dallas going into their second season, and Jennings could be a prime candidate to develop behind Zdenek Ondrasek and Franco Jara.
“I haven’t yet, I’m sure that’ll come later as preseason goes on and I kind of see my standing within the team. Like I said, I’ll be happy wherever I can help the team.”Cal Jennings on whether there has been a discussion on North Texas SC
One thing Jennings won’t need to worry about is the conditions around him. The unpredictable weather in North Texas has finished off the prospects of a number of players, as trialists and camp invites from elsewhere have struggled with a change in heat or humidity. The Georgia native, who spent four years playing college soccer in Orlando, is so far enjoying a cooler and less humid time in Frisco.
“I’ve been here before [with UCF playing at SMU] and the weather’s really pretty similar to that of Orlando, or Georgia where I’m from. It’s actually probably a little bit cooler which is nice right now, but I know gets hot here too, and I’m prepared for that as well.”Cal Jennings