Ten FC Dallas players to watch in college soccer this fall

The college season is around the corner – SMU, for example, begins play on August 25th – so it’s time to list 10 FC Dallas Academy players to watch this fall.

There are, of course, way more FCD kids in college soccer than this. My list is by no means exclusive. It’s just a set of FCD-related names that I personally am intrigued by.

I had to cut a bunch of names to get to 10 and I have put them in alphabetical order.

Got a player you think I missed? Put it in the comments below!

Reed Berry, Oral Roberts – Forward, Senior

A former FCD Premier player, Reed came from off the radar to grab attention with his breakout freshman year.  2019 Summit League Newcomer of the year, 2020 Summit League 1st Team, and 2021 Summit League 1st Team.  Over three seasons he’s nabbed 19 goals with 11 assists. A strong senior season might open some doors for him.

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Premier Legends forward Reed Berry [in pink] fights through two FC Harrington defenders in the Roja League match at Foro Sports Club. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

Kevin Bonilla, Portland – Right Back, Sophomore

After starting a bunch of games for North Texas, I thought Bonilla was the next right back in line for a Homegrown deal. For whatever reason, that never happened.  Slated to go to Portland in 2020, Covid struck and Bonilla played some for NTX as a post-Academy amateur.  He finally played his freshman year at Portland in 2021 earning All-West Region Third Team honors with 18 starts in 19 games with 1 goal and 5 assists. Bonilla is a former US U20 and has trained with the US U23s.

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Kevin Bonilla drives past Shak Adams during the 1-1 draw between North Texas SC and FC Tucson, September 19, 2020. (Craig Marcho, 3rd Degree)

Michael Collodi, Columbia – Goalkeeper, Senior

A three-year starter (The Ivy didn’t play soccer in 2020) with 45 games under his belt. Like everyone else, he should have an extra year of eligibility available to him if he chooses to use it. Collodi is a really talented keeper who could be a pro if he wants it but at 6’0” is just a touch shorter than the ideal pro height.  Former US U14 and U16.

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Premier Legends goalkeeper Michael Collodi intercepts a corner kick in the Roja League match against FC Harrington. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

Grady Easton, St Louis – Center Back, Sophomore

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. This year he’s transferred to St Louis looking to rebound and progress his career.  At 6’3” 180 he’s got the right physical profile for the pro-CB to go with his pretty good feet.

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North Texas SC defender Grady Easton dribbles into Forward Madison territory in the USL League One match at Globe Life Park. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

Malik Henry-Scott, Tulsa – Forward, Junior

A striker or winger with a lot of skill, when I watched him in the Academy he had some of the best body control and balance I’ve ever seen. Really hard to knock off the ball. In two seasons at Tulsa, he’s started 21 of 25 appearances with 7 goals and 4 assists. (5’10. 160) American Conference All-Rookie as a freshman and 2nd Team as a sophomore. The older brother of Tarik Scott of the FCD Academy U19s and North Texas SC.

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Conner Lewis (#15 white) of Solar SC defends against Malik Henry-Scott of FC Dallas, September 22, 2019. (Solar SC U19s)

Jalen James, Campbell – Wing, RS-Senior

James was a medical red-shirt as a freshman (2018) so had an extra year of eligibility. 2019 Big South All-Freshman Team (red shirt freshman) and 2020 1st Team Big South (sophomore).  An attacking flank player with pace, James has 12 goals and 5 assists in 43 games and 33 starts. Injured again last year (5 games), a big fall season could get him some needed attention.  He’s been playing USL-2 with Tormenta 2 this summer after playing for Mississippi Brilla last year.

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Jalen James. (Courtesy Campbell)

Diego Letayf, Georgetown – Midfielder, Freshman

During his Academy days, oh man, I was so high on this kid. I had him on multiple future Homegrown lists. He was a touch undersized but he was one of the smoothest holding mids I’ve ever seen. His positioning was phenomenal and he almost never had to tackle cause he was always in the right place. He’s got fantastic feet and is a quality passer.  It was no shock to see him jump to the Tigres U20 team.  While I don’t know his story specifically, Covid (I imagine) did what it did, and now Letayf has resurfaced as a freshman this fall at Georgetown.  I can’t wait to see where his game is.

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Seth Wilson, Nico Carrera, David Rodriguez, and Diego Letayf with the FC Dallas U17s during 2019 in Guadalajara, Mexico. (3rd Degree)

Josh Ramsey, Notre Dame – Center Back, Sophomore

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. What a freshman year this kid had. 2021 All-ACC Freshman team after making 23 starts for the ACC Champs and Cup Semi-Finalists. Not the ideal height at just 6’0″ but plenty of game talent and soccer smarts. A leader and organizer in the back.

Josh Ramsey brings the ball down in the Dallas Cup match against Black Rock FC.
Josh Ramsey brings the ball down in the Dallas Cup match against Black Rock FC. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

Slade Starnes, Furman – Center Back, Freshman

Starnes had a remarkable, late climb 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. Now he’s heading to Furman and I look forward to seeing if the progression continues.

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Slade Starnes (5) attempts a diving header in the Dallas Cup match against Tigres UANL on April 10, 2022, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

Seth Wilson, Akron – Goalkeeper, Freshman

Like a lot of the other guys who graduated from the FCD Academy during the pandemic, things haven’t gone as planned for Wilson. Originally heading to Clemson, Wilson had some trials overseas and seemed to have landed a gig before things went sideways. Wilson has been on the North Texas roster as an amateur player this season and is heading to Akron to play soccer this fall. He’s got a long pro career ahead if he wants it (6’3″, 185).

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Seth Wilson, FC Dallas’ U19 goalkeeper, in action against the LA Galaxy in the 2019 DA Winter Cup at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, December 7, 2019.

Bonus – This One Goes to Eleven

Holland Rula – Left back, High Point, Graduate Student

I’m listing Rula as a bonus because he’s already been drafted by FC Dallas.  He started for three seasons at Wake Forest (43 starts) before FCD picked him in the 3rd Round of the 2022 Superdraft. Rula had already chosen to use his extra year and transfer to High Point to play as a grad student and get his MBA.  MLS clubs hold draft rights for two seasons, so Rula remains an FCD asset and might report to camp in the spring.

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Holland Rula, Wake Forest. (Courtesy Wake Forest)

The NIU Five

Shoutout to the five FC Dallas Academy alumni at the core of the Northern Illinois University team: Luis Hernandez (Jr M), Diego Maynez (So M), Miguel Maynez Jr (Sr F), Camilo Estrada (So M), Eddie Knight (So M). They are a big part of the good things happening at that program.

3 Comments

  1. I’ve got my eye on freshmen Ty Reynolds at SDSU and Jalen Belong at Oregon State. They’re both gonna be on good teams and could carve out roles.

    Also Escribano is back after a redshirt year to take the starting RB spot at Wake Forest again (he started almost every game as a true freshman).

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