Slim pickings – potential 2021 college Homegrown signings

This has been a really odd year across every aspect of life and that’s certainly true for sports in general and college sports specifically.  Some college soccer conferences played and others did not, which makes it difficult to evaluate the progression of any perspective Homegrowns.

Complicating things – to the benefit of student-athletes – every fall and winter sports athlete was granted a blanket extra year of eligibility. Including soccer.

So every senior can play another year if they want.

Before I get into my list, I’ll remind you I wrote a much longer post about a year ago with a list of players I’m tracking/watching in college. Due to obvious reasons, that list has changed very little since then. So if you want some names beyond the few here then go take a look. There are some guys on that list that could be Homegrowns someday.

Quite frankly, there isn’t a lot of space on the FCD roster unless the club loans out some players.  With the lesser usage of “play the kids” in 2020, any college homegrown is likely only to be signed if the coaching staff thinks said player might be helpful sometime in the next season or two.

TL;DR – Maybe none.

On with the list.

Worth a Homegrown Signing

Last year this list included one name: Eddie Munjoma.  This year I once again have just one name but, as I said, I’m not sure he – or anyone – will be signed out of college. This is just such an odd year.

Mark Salas

UNC, Senior, 5’10” 150 lbs. Four-year defensive starter at UNC, although this season that was just 6 games. Nominally an outside back, he can pretty much play anywhere in defense.  A former USYNT player who joined FCD at age 6.  He was part of the Dallas Cup SuperGroup winning Academy team with Jesus Ferreira and Paxton Pomykal. He’s also played some NPSL for Diablos.

Salas is the player I would suggest to FCD to sign as a Homegrown. He’s the most versatile and can play anywhere on the backline, so he’s most likely to be able to help the club out in a couple of areas they are thin defensively.  

Mark Salas of FC Dallas in the 2017 Dallas Cup SuperGroup Final. (Courtesy Dallas Cup)

Worth Considering

Brandon Terwege

SMU, Senior, 6’1” 185 lbs.  One of the best center backs the FCD Academy has produced. A two-year starter at UCLA before transfer to SMU where he started in 2019. A former US U20.  He too played some NPSL for Diablos and was also part of the Dallas Cup SuperGroup winning Academy team.

Last year, I said I wanted to see Terwege play one more season at SMU to see if he could elevate his game another step. Then SMU didn’t play.  I still feel the same way, I would like to see him take the extra year at SMU.

However, I do think he is, at the very least, potentially in consideration for a Homegrown deal.

NCAA Soccer Tournament round of 16 game between SMU and UCF at Westcott Field
SMU defender Brandon Terwege (5) dribbles into UCF territory in the first half of the NCAA Soccer Tournament Round-of-16 game between SMU and UCF at Westcott Field.

Potential College Seniors for North Texas SC

Again, with the extra year of eligibility, there’s no telling if there’s going to be anyone leaving college to play in USL-1.

Giovanni Montes de Oca

UNC, RS-Senior, 5’9” 167 lbs. Sometimes listed with his name all connected: Montesdeoca. Redshirted in 2016. Breakout in 2018 as a sophomore with 8 goals and 4 assists in 19 games (15 starts) in the elite ACC.

2019 should have been his junior year but got injured playing for the Denton Diablos and missed the UNC season. Returned in 2020 with 1 goal and 1 assist in 6 starts wearing the #10 (UNC played 7 games total).  Led the FCD Academy to the 2015 USSDA U16 National Championship.

His uncle is former MLS player José Burciaga Jr who was a Project-40 signing out of Duncanville High.

If Gio is graduating, I’d love to see North Texas SC sign him. He’s a talented, impactful, creative player who is off the radar due to the injuries. At one time I had him on my potential Homegrown list.

Gio Montes de Oca of UNC, 2020. (Courtesy UNC)

Blake Willis

Columbia, Senior, 5’9” 160 lbs. A left back and three-year starter at Columbia but missed part of 2019 with an injured ankle. Then the Ivy did not play in 2020. Yet again a Dallas Cup SuperGroup winner.

Left back makes Willis worth a backup semi-pro offer (See Ponder, Philip 2020). NTX brought back Derek Waldeck but there’s no reason not to bring in Willis and let him challenge Waldeck. Depth is good, challenge is good, pressure is good.

Blake Willis playing for Columbia University. (Courtesy Columbia University)

Seniors Worth a NTXSC Camp Invite

Not to be a broken record; but an extra year, blah, blah. These are some former FCD Academy players that might be worth a Los Torolitos camp call in.

Aldo Quevedo – Yale
Jacob Goyen – Ohio State then St Louis U
Ben Hale – Furman
Adrian Ramos – Ohio State then Richland College

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