The fall college soccer season is just around the corner so it’s time once again for my annual FC Dallas Academy players in college watch list.
These are the ten players out of the FCD Academy that I am most interested in that are in the college soccer ranks this fall.
This year’s list includes a crop of 4 interesting center backs and a brand-new upper-classman I just discovered is FCD eligible. Think I missed someone? Tell us about them in the comments.
In alphabetical order…
10 FC Dallas Products to Watch in College Soccer
Will Baker, Michigan – Center Back
Freshman, 6’4″, 195 lbs, Frisco texas
Baker originally committed to Furman but took a gap year to stay at the FC Dallas Academy and North Texas SC. Baker – like a lot of center backs – was a bit of a later bloomer in soccer terms as he grew into his height. As a rare left-footed center back, Baker’s progress in college will be worth tracking.
In two seasons with NTX, Baker played in 7 games making 4 starts.
Bryce Boneau, Notre Dame – Midfielder
Redshirt Sophmore (aka Junior), 5’10”, 160 lbs, Keller, Texas.
Ok, stay with me here. Boneau is a Solar product winning the U17 DA title with them. But it appears he jumped to FCD for his U19 season… only for Covid to hit and shut down the season. So he played some for FCD ECNL and for Keller High where he earned First Team All-State, Dallas Morning News Offensive Player of the Year, and the Gatorade National Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year award.
Along the way, Boneau managed to play in 13 games with 3 goals and 7 assists for FC Dallas
Academy ECNL sometime in 2020. Could this make him Homegrown eligible?
Bryce missed his 2021 freshman year at ND with an ACL injury (medical redshirt?) but started all 17 games as a sophomore. I recently watched him with Texas United and he’s a fantastic player.
Kevin Bonilla, Portland – Right Back
Junior, 5’8″, 158 lbs, Dallas, Texas.
After starting a bunch of games for North Texas on the way to the USL-1 2019 title, I thought Bonilla was the next right back in line for a FCD Homegrown deal but that never came to fruition. Slated to go to Portland in 2020, Covid struck and Bonilla played some more for NTX as a post-Academy amateur. Bonilla was a US U20s and even got some U23 camp time.
Bonilla is now two seasons into his college career at Portland with 35 starts and 37 games played. 2021 TopDrawerSoccer Freshman Best XI First Team and the College Soccer News All-Freshmen Third Team. 2022 All-WCC 2nd Team.
Julian Eyestone, Duke – Goalkeeper
Freshman, 6’6″, 215 lbs, Dallas, Texas.
Come on, you know about this kid by now.
Eyestone will turn 18 next April which means all the European clubs can come offering on pre-contracts this winter. If I was a betting man, I would put money on this being a one-and-done for Eyestone at Duke. FCD better strike this winter on a Homegrown deal or they are going to miss out on this massive talent.
8 starts for North Texas SC this year as a U17. Goalkeeper of the Tourney at the 2023 GA Cup. US U17. MLS Next All-Star.
Grady Easton, St Louis – Center Back
Junior, 6’3″, 180 lbs, The Woodlands, Texas.
Back in 2021, during his final Academy season, Easton played for North Texas and trained with FC Dallas. He joined SMU that fall but only made one start in seven games for a total of 310 minutes.
Easton transferred to St Louis for ’22 making 14 starts in 17 appearances, adding 2 goals, helping the Bilikens win the A-10 regular-season and tournament titles.
Malik Henry-Scott, Tulsa – Forward/Wing
Senior, 5’10”, 160 lbs, Plano, Texas.
A striker or winger with a lot of skill and athleticism. Three seasons at Tulsa: 37 starts in 41 games with 13 goals and 6 assists. American Conference All-Rookie as a freshman and 2nd Team as a sophomore. A good senior season could solidify him into a signable/draftable asset for FCD this coming spring.
The older brother of FCD Homegrown Tarik Scott.
Diego Hernandez, Furman – Midfielder
Freshman, 5’9″, 148 lbs, Mesquite, Texas.
Hernandez was high on my Homegrown watch list for a couple of years and has been, in my view, the best U19 for the last two years. After recovering from a bad auto accident, Hernadez regained his peak form and showed serious game control with North Texas SC being named MLS NEXT Pro Rising Star of the Month for May.
I will be watching his career with great interest.
Diego Letayf, Georgetown – Midfielder
Sophomore, 5’10”, 170 lbs, Southlake, Texas.
During his Academy days, oh man, I was so high on this kid. I had him on multiple future Homegrown lists. He jumped to the Tigres U20 as a U17. Post-Covid he showed up at Georgetown to play soccer.
19 starts in 20 games played for the 2022 Big East Champs (2nd lowest GAA in Big East). Letayf wasn’t named to any Big East teams but the center back behind him and the mid in front of him were named Big East Defender and Offensive Players of the Year.
Coincidence? Sure, maybe. But he’s a smooth, quiet, skilled holding mid, a position that doesn’t attract attention. So I’m going with no, not a coincidence.
Josh Ramsey, Notre Dame – Center Back
Junior, 6’0″, 190 lbs, Plano, Texas.
Mostly a solar product, Ramsey jumped to San Antonio FC on an amateur contract and then came to the FC Dallas Academy for one season before heading to Notre Dame. 2021 All-ACC Freshman team. 40 starts, 1 sub appearance in 2 seasons.
At only 6 feet he might be a bit undersized for the standard MLS center back play but he’s a very smart defender and game reader playing in a very good conference.
Slade Starnes, Furman – Center Back
Sophomore, 6’3″, 185 lbs, Dallas, Texas.
Starnes climbed through the FCD ranks from Premier to the Academy to U19 captain as he matured physically into a Matt Hedges-type profile (6’3”, 185). Along the way, he worked with NTX and the FCD first team.
As a freshman earned Southern Conference All-Freshman honors in 18 games, 17 starts with 3 goals and 2 assists. He helped lead Texas United to one of the best records in USL-2 this summer.
Honorable Mention FCD College Watch List
Jared Aguilar, Tulsa – Midfielder, Freshman
Pranav DeBroff, Wake Forest – Center back, Freshman
Cristian Escribano, Wake Forest – Outside back, RS Junior
Santiago Ferreira, Pitt – Midfielder, Freshman
Kevin Kelley, Princeton – Forward, Freshman
Michael Morales, Tulsa – Forward, Freshman
Aaron Salinas, Furman – Goalkeeper, Freshman
Seth Wilson, Akron – Goalkeeper, Sophmore
But This One Goes to 11
Diego Pepi – Incarnate Word?
Unknown, maybe 5’10”, El Paso, Texas.
Another odd one. Pepi exploded this year going from ECNL (FCD’s 2nd tier) to North Texas SC and then back to the Academy U19s. He looked fantastic in the Dallas Cup and he’s made 8 appearances from NTX with 1 goal.
I named him as a player I wanted to see signed to North Texas but I’ve had a couple of people tell me he might be going to Incarnate Word.
But he’s not on the IW fall roster and he was on the bench for the last NTX game just a couple of days ago. So is a gap season at the Academy in the cards instead? Stay tuned.