Nighte Pickering signs with Memphis 901

Another FC Dallas Academy player, Nighte Pickering, has signed a professional contract with a USL club – in this case, Memphis 901 – in a move we often call “doing a JOGO” after Jonathan Gomez the super talented left back who is now plying his trade in Europe.

Picking was about to start his second season on the FC Dallas U19 roster after playing last season with the U19s and U17s. Pickering signed with an agent last year and has been targeting a pro move for some time but by doing so removed the option of college ball.

Pickering is the first FCD 2005 to sign a contract. Matthew Corcoran, a 2006, made a similar move earlier this year signing with Birmingham Legion.

FC Dallas U19 forward Nighte Pickering shoots in the MLS NEXT Cup quarterfinals match against Wake FC on June 29, 2022, at Toyota Soccer Center. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

The Pickering signing underlines a growing problem for FC Dallas, and MLS Next Pro in general, USL Championship clubs signing their Academy players.

FC Dallas produces lots of talent and MLS is reaching a higher level so there is less room for teenage signings. The allure of starting a pro career in USL-C as a teen is too attractive for some compared to playing some college ball and waiting for an FCD contract that may, or may not, come.

It’s unclear at this time if FC Dallas was making any kind of offer to Pickering. The lack of any playing time for him in MLS Next Pro is probably an indicator that there wasn’t one.

Pickering was not on my recent Homegrown Watch List either.

Best of luck to Pickering. We always want to see FCD Academy kids do well. Hopefully, this move pays off and we see him tearing up USL-C someday.

P.S. the “e” is silent.

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