Tag, You’re It – taking a shot at FCD’s local territory tags

With the end of the local territory rule in MLS, there has risen an interesting rule in its place for “tagging” local players on a “protected list.” 

Currently, in addition to 45 players in their own system, MLS teams can apply a “tag” on nine local players over the age of 14 that don’t play for their own Academy. In effect, MLS clubs can call a kind of “dibs” on these nine kids in terms of being signed by MLS.

So yes, 99% of the MLS territory rule went away. But not this one loophole. This “tagging” only applies in terms of signing in MLS and you can only tag a player as long as they are U19 eligible.

So I thought it might be a fun/interesting exercise to attempt to predict the 9 non-FCD players the club currently has tagged. There’s no way in hell FCD will tell me who they tagged – yes, I asked.

Most of these names have been suggested to me by people in the business at some point, some have been rumored/suggested multiple interesting places, and a few are just my guess or suggestion. I have multiple players at other clubs in every class that I track to some extent, although not like I do with the FCD Academy.

So, in alphabetical order…

3rd Degree’s FC Dallas Local Player Tag List

Daniel Castillo – DKSC   

2008, midfielder. His name popped up on a couple of the US Soccer ID Camps. He’s a freshman at Seagoville HS, class of 2026. Recommended to me as a rising talent to watch.

Tobias Crear – Dallas Texans

2007, forward. He’s been in the mix on some US ID camps as well and he’s the name I hear the most from Dallas Texans. Class of 2025 Creekview High School. 

Matthew Corcoran – Birmingham Legion

2006, holding mid. Yes, he’s currently under contract with Birmingham Legion. But remember, this rule is about signing with MLS and applies as long as the player is U19 eligible…. which Corcoran is until May 2025 (two more seasons). So tagged it is.

Keyrol Figueroa – Liverpool

2006, forward. Yes, Maynor’s kid. Yes, he’s in the Liverpool Academy and is a US U17. It’s true that he hasn’t been at FCD since U12.

But I know for sure some MLS teams are tagging kids in Europe. So why not stick a tag on the kid?  What’s it cost you to take a long shot on a talent like Keyrol?  Who can say what will happen at Liverpool in the next two years? Tag him!

Evrit Fisher – DKSC

2007, central mid. He can hold or link, maybe center back. He’s had at least one US camp that I know of. I’ve seen him play against the FCD Academy and he’s impressive, a Tanner Tessmann clone. The non-FCD player most often suggested/mentioned to me locally over the last two years.

Trey Glosson – Solar SC

2009. He’s barely old enough to be tagged. A recent invitee to the US ID camp at SMU.  Like Castillo above, Glosson makes the list mainly on a recommendation. I’ve not seen him myself.

Preston Licker – Solar SC

2006, midfield. Licker has been on my watchlist for a couple of seasons now. With Solar dropping down to ECNL he has to be a candidate to jump, at least in my mind.

Diego Pepi – North Texas SC

2004, forward.  The younger Pepi never played for the Academy and skipped from ECNL right to North Texas SC.  So FCD needs to tag him to protect their local rights as he’s already playing for their reserves.  Pepi took the field for the Academy in the Dallas Cup.

20230403_DC_160302 D Pepi
FC Dallas U19 forward Diego Pepi dribbles up the sideline in the Dallas Cup match against Real Madrid at MoneyGram Park on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

Nighte Pickering – Memphis 901

2005, forward. Like Corcoran, Pickering is under contract to a USL-C side, Memphis 901 in this case. But you tag him for the same season you tag Corcoran.  Pickering has one season left of U19 eligibility.

FC Dallas Academy Players

Internal to their own Academy, FCD can tag up to 45 players to protect from U19 to U15.

So where’s that list, you ask?

I think this fall when the new Academy season starts I will make a stab at indicating who I think those players may be.


  1. I’m sure FCD was already talking to various kids at Solar before they announced they would jump to ECNL. Seems like you think that move will accelerate some of those conversations – how much more attractive do you think MLS Next is than ECNL (if at all) for those kids and their parents?

    1. biggest MLS Next benefit for most players, IMO, is college scouting. I think the top D1 programs look mostly there (aka scholarships). I know of multiple kids who dropped to ECNL to play high school ball that end up coming back to MNP U19s to take a gap season to get scouted cause they don’t get seen in HS/ECNL.

  2. Why would a Club like Solar drop the MLS Next Team (Academy) to just have multiple ECNL teams? This is what I am seeing for the U15 boys. I am guessing some are looking to move to a club with MLS Next. FC Dallas.

    1. the Solar thing is hard to understand. Pressure from ECNL I think, tired of being treated as 2nd class? Don’t really know for sure. And yes, I hear of players looking to jump to FCD, the new Hornets team, or other MLS Next teams in other areas.

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