Moving Day – FC Dallas Academy Post Dallas Cup 2021

As always I had a blast at the Dallas Cup. I got to see quite a few of the FC Dallas Academy sides. At 3rd Degree, we’re all about the pathway to the pros so I thought it might be fun to pick out the biggest mover from the Dallas Cup on my board in each team.

So from U19 down to U13, I’m picking out the biggest jumpers on my personal player tracking board to share my thoughts about. 

Keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily move anyone to the top or my board nor does it mean they will be a pro. The jump could be from bottom to middle, for example.


I’ve seen the u19s more than any other current team, which based on how time works shouldn’t shock anyone. But that means I pretty much already have this team dialed in.

So I’m slightly cheating here and picking a player technically a U17 playing up. Since this is a Dallas Cup post and he was with the U19s in the Cup… that counts as U19. Don’t @ me.

Cesar “Danny” Elizalde

Danny is a 2004, as I said technically a U17 in age. At one point he missed about a year with an injury I’ve been told and he’s playing up here with three other 2004s.  A former USYNT camper. I can’t recall having seen him play before this (Covid + injury).

Over the two games I watched, he was the most influential player in the team. Pressing well and picking balls off players, linking and keeping the team moving forward. He had the game-winning goal in the first game against Black Rock. Overall a quality player and I was impressed with his mental game and two-way play.

I have heard FCD has tried him some at left back but I didn’t see that.

What’s not to like: He’s a central mid, an 8 or a maybe 10ish… and FCD produces a crap ton of those. There are a whole bunch of players at this position in the FCD system. He could be a step quicker too.

Cesar Elizalde tips the ball up in the Dallas Cup match against Black Rock FC.
Danny Elizalde tips the ball up in the Dallas Cup match against Black Rock FC. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)


The 17s shockingly didn’t get out of the group stage. I say shockingly because this team is pretty loaded. They usually have Matthew Corcoran in their team but he played back down with the U15s – his natural age group – for this one as the U15 team was short players for the Cup. Finishing and play in the final third cost the U17s this year.

Diego Gamez

A player I don’t think I had ever seen before as he joined FCD for the 2018-19 season from El Paso as a U15.  Or if I did see him, I certainly didn’t remember him. 

Gamez is a 2004 and played right back in the games I saw.  His pace and burst really jump out and he’s got the ability to combine in tight space too – rondo, as Coach Luchi Gonzalez says, the FCD progression method. There’s lots to like here and I will be watching to see if he progresses. He made a really positive first impression.

What’s not to like: The final ball isn’t good enough. His crosses are floated and need to be driven.  He can get forward and into the box, but the final layoff pass or shot isn’t clean enough.  Thankfully, both those things are coachable. So we’ll find out how coachable he is.

Diego Gamez charges up field against RSL Arizona in the first U17 Group B game of the 2021 Dallas Cup. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)


The 2006s became the first FCD class to win the Dallas Cup twice as they took home the Boot and Ball in this year to go with the 2019 U13 title. Man, the U14 SuperGroup might have been a heck of a test. What a loss.

Henry Canizalez

Canizalez like all the U15s is a 2006 and is a player near the top of my board, now second behind Corcoran for me in this age bracket.  What a player.

He’s one of five U15s that train up with the U17s so I knew he was good coming in, but he still knocked my socks off.  Ball skill, game reading, body control, tight combos, not a track star but plenty of pace and short space burst, high level soccer IQ… I think Jonathan Gomez comparisons are completely fair.

What’s not to like: Um… er… let me think. Ok, if I nitpick to come up with something… he’s carrying just a tiny bit more bodyweight than I would like. He’s moving into 90 minutes play and closed subs – and he just turned 15 in March – so I’m not worried about it. It was a stretch to come up with a negative.

Henry Canizalez dribbles up the sideline in the Dallas Cup match against FC Houston Pro. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

I love the “oh crap” look on the defenders face in this pic compared to Henry’s look of joy, “Ha ha!”


The U14s, like the U17s, did not get the results one might expect and didn’t get out of their group after one win and two draws.  Only one goal was scored over the first two games and the injury to Brice Miller probably had a lot to do with that. If Miller was healthy, it might have been a very different Dallas Cup for the U14s.

Cayne Madhlangove

As I mentioned in my Day Three Buzz Notes, Cayne (pronounced Cain) is my favorite player in the U13s. He’s just a complete soccer player in my eyes. 

Stocky in build, he’s tenacious and tough. Defends hard and works his tail off the whole game. Athletic enough to get forward to both cross or cut inside. He just has a presence in the game, draws attention and notice.  I loved watching him play.

Every game I saw him he was a right back but I’ve been told he’s been a 6 as well. Two often interchangeable positions.

What’s not to like: He’s a bit short, but as with most players at this age, he’s probably not hit his growth spurt yet.  Only a couple of them have. So again, this isn’t something I’m concerned with at this stage.

Cayne Madhlangove.


I’m cheating again. I didn’t see the U13s play (I tend to stick with U14 and up).  But there is one 2008 playing up with the 2007s and he’s for sure worth a mention. He’s literally the only 2008 I saw so it was a small pool to pick from.

Zach Molomo

The prototypical early maturing player, he’s already one of the biggest players at the U14 level… But he can play.  There is plenty of skill and talent here that makes him worth moving up at this stage even if he weren’t big. He’s a pretty intimidating player and a difficult matchup on the skill alone. 

What’s not to like: The early maturing bit. Will the dominance hold up as other players mature?  He’s 12’ish so there’s a long way to go. Will he stay ahead of everyone? Many early developers don’t.

Ok, that’s the list. If anyone has a good photo of Zach Molomo to share that would be awesome.

I hope everyone enjoyed our Dallas Cup Coverage.

1 Comment

  1. I’m excited for the ongoing official Buzz Carrick Derby between Canizalez and Norris for the future of the FC Dallas LB position.

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