In honor of the canceled 2020 Dallas Cup, a few weeks ago I took a look back at the most recent domestic side to win the Dallas Cup Super Group: the FC Dallas U18s in 2017.
Edit: I heard from Coach Hudgell and a few others so I’ve made a couple of edits and added some info. Special thanks to Stephen Brown who chatted with me on the phone for about 30 minutes. He helped me with some info on other players.
It’s now time to look back at the other domestic side to win the Boot and Ball: the Dallas Texans in 2006.
Dallas Texans Red, as this top side was known back in 2006 (there was a Dallas Texans Black as well), was coming off the 2005 USYS U17 National Championship. Most references I can find call the Dallas Cup Championship side the ’88 team (kids born in 1988 or later).
That ’88 side is one of the best youth teams the US has ever seen. Three straight USYS Titles (U17 in ‘05, U18 in ‘06, U19 in ‘07) – in addition to this first-ever domestic Dallas Cup Super Group – and 20 NCAA Division I Players.
But there are several players from the ‘88 teams that won multiple titles that aren’t on the Dallas Cup roster that I have and several of the players who are on the DC roster were born in 1987. So perhaps it was a hybrid 87/88 team in the Dallas Cup?
Edit: I was correct about this. The Team in the Dallas Cup in 2006 was indeed the ’88 team. BUT since the Super Group is a u19 competition they added a couple of players who were one year older, from the ’87 team, and already in college for the ’06 tournament. Notably Dane Saintus (4) and Jeff Harwell (3). What’s funny about that is in the back of my mind Jeff Harwell was in this team but he wasn’t on the roster so I didn’t include him originally.
While I didn’t see the Dallas Cup final itself, I did see them play multiple times and this Texans side was one of the best youth teams I’ve ever seen play to this day. I was confidently claiming at the time there were 6 to 7 players in the side with a shot at a pro career.
As for the Championship game, Dallas Texans beat Santos Laguna 4-2. Bill Dworsky had 3 assists in the final and was named Tournament Offensive MVP. Dane Saintus scores twice, Andre Akpan notched a goal, and Johnathan Villanueva had a goal and an assist.
The Texans team was really strong defensively as well, captain and center back, David Murphy, was voted Defensive MVP.
I don’t have a box score or a real Dallas Texans roster to work with, all I have is the program from the Dallas Cup and the roster printed therein. I’m sure I’m missing players.
The times I watched them play, Dallas Texas Red lined up in a diamond 4-4-2 to take advantage of their no. 10 Villanueva. Based on the pictures of the Final and my memory of their typical setup, here’s my reconstruction of their lineup in the Super Group Final. Edit: the lineup is correct.
If you have a real box score or roster for Texans 87/88, or know of players or info I missed, or have a picture to share, let me know in the comments below or reach out on twitter @3rdDegreeNet.
I did send an email to the Texans but haven’t heard anything back yet. If they get back to me I’ll update this post.
Dallas Texans Red Dallas Cup Numeric Roster
1 – Tyler Sullivan (Plano, Texas – Plano East)
Goalkeeper. Nicknamed “Max.” Sullivan signed to go to Trinity University and play, according to the rosters I can find, but other than that I can’t find anything else on him.
2 – Chris Wymer (Dallas, Texas – Wylie HS)
Edit: Wymer, who was listed as 20, is the no. 2 I didn’t have a name for.
Midfielder and another duplicate roster number. Chris started college playing career at Fairleigh Dickenson in 2006 but seems to have gone missing after that. It looks like he possibly coaches at Infinity FC and/or Advanced Soccer Training.
3 – Jeff Harwell (Dallas, Texas – Jesuit College Prep)
2005 Parade All-America selection, Gatorade High School Player of the Year nominee. Former US U20. Played four years at SMU. Took part in the 2008 MLS Combine but was undrafted. Signed with the Austin Aztex U23s (USL PDL) and eventually joined the Aztex senior side in 2013.
Harwell is currently a coach with Lonestar SC in Austin, Texas.
4 – Dane Saintus (Arlington, Texas – Arlington Lamar HS)
A quick forward or wing player. The first name is pronounced ‘Danny.’ Saintus went to my Alma matter, Arlington Lamar, where he was selected the 2006 Player of the Year by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Played college ball at SMU with 14 goals and 15 assists in 69 games. His older brother Dario also played for SMU.
Saintus was drafted in the 4th round, 54th overall, by FC Dallas in 2010 but didn’t make the team.
5 – Randy Dennis (San Angelo, Texas – San Angelo Central HA)
Center Back. Dennis played college soccer at Dayton appearing in 52 games over four seasons. Signed with Dayton Dutch Lions FC (USL-2) after college for one season. Appeared on collegesoccernews.com’s listing of “Top 100 Freshmen To Keep An Eye On” in 2006.
6 – David Murphy (Southlake, Texas – Southlake Carroll HS)
Center back and Texans captain. Murphy was tough as nails. An amazing leader, organizer, and worker; he was a really impressive voice controlling the game. 2019 North Texas SC captain Brecc Evans reminds me of Murphy, plus a few inches of height as Murhpy was only 5’11”.
Murphy signed with Wake Forest but transferred to New Mexico after playing only 6 games at Wake as a freshman when they won the NCAA title. He won the Golden Boot (MVP, not top scorer) at the 2005 USYS National Club Championships.
7 – Bahram Sajjadi (Arlington, Texas – Arlington, Martin)
Forward. Set the Martin HS record with 43 goals in his senior season in 2006. Sajjadi started his college career at the University of New Mexico and transferred to Midwestern State for his final two seasons.
8 – Stephen McCarthy (Grapevine, Texas – Nolan Catholic)
A holding midfielder and my favorite player in the Texans team. Named TAPPS Division 1 Offensive Player of the Year in 2006 at Nolan Catholic. Played three seasons (and 3 games) at Santa Clara University and then transferred to UNC for ’09-’10 season.
McCarthy was drafted in the 2nd round, 24th overall, in 2011 by the New England Revolution. 69 games and 63 starts for the Revs over 4 seasons (2g, 2a), voted the Revs’ Best Defender in 2012. Former US U18 and U20.
After leaving the Revs he played for KuPS in Finland and San Antonio FC until 2018. According to his Linkedin profile, he’s Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.
Side note: as a freshman, McCarthy played in the Santa Clara midfield with Pete Lowry and Erik Ustruck and all three made it to MLS.
10 – Jonathan Villanueva (Grand Prairie, Texas – South Grand Prairie HS)
Villanueva was a supremely talented #10 and creative playmaker. He was often regarded as a future star… The #1 high school recruit his senior year. He even had a trial at Ajax. Unfortunately, college kind of derailed his potential and he went undrafted in 2010 even though he was named Most Outstanding Offensive Player after leading UVA to the 2009 NCAA College Cup.
JV signed with Richmond Kickers for 2010 and after the season ended his contract wasn’t renewed. Former US U18. If he would have been born 10 years later and he probably would have been a DA superstar.
Currently a Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams.
11 – Andre Akpan (Grand Prairie, Texas – Oakridge School)
A pure center channel #9 type striker. Played college soccer at Harvard. Selected in the 2nd round, 22nd overall, in 2010 by the Colorado Rapids. Traded to NY for a pick in 2013 and played for Red Bulls in 2013 and 2014. Traded to the Revs in late 2014 but never played for them. A former US U20, he played in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. If he had been a step quicker he might have been a star rather than an MLS role-player.
Currently a Competition Manager with Major League Soccer
12 – Jules “Sonny” Renner (Southlake, Texas – Southlake Carroll HS)
Played at Dayton for four seasons appearing in 56 games. Dabbled in coaching with the Dallas Texans and is now an Imaging Account Manager at GE Healthcare
13 – Jan-Michael Guerra (Unknown – Unknown)
Played four seasons at the University of Chicago and is now a Senior Research Analyst at GoldenTree Asset Management.
14 – Philip Nigh (Celina, Texas – Celina HS?)
Played college soccer at Incarnate Word from 2006 to 2008. Graduated from UNT in 2011. Currently a Sales Manager at Medical Device Alliance.
15 – Jose Diaz (Grand Prairie, Texas– South Grand Prairie HS?)
Went by the nickname “Joe” among his teammates. Invited to join Tigres’ development set up after they saw him in the Dallas Cup. Spent two years in their system before returning to the Dallas area.
16 – Omar Gonzalez (Dallas, Texas – St. Stephan’s Episcopal)
Yes, the Omar Gonzalez. Omar played two seasons at Maryland where he won the 2008 College Cup and was named a First Team All-American as well as ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Drafted 3rd overall by LA Galaxy. Played for LA from 2009 to 2015 – including a loan stint in 2012 with FC Nurnberg – and with Pachuca from 2016 to 2019. Returned to MLS with Toronto FC in 2019 and 2020. 52 USMNT Caps. Former US U17, U18.
16 – Michael Erickson (Coppell, Texas– Coppell HS)
Didn’t play college soccer. Attended the University of Texas. According to Brown, Erickson was a highly ranked wrestler as well as a soccer player and I was able to find him in some UIL wrestling results.
17 – Stephen Brown (Arlington, Texas – Arlington Martin)
Another Texans player who headed to the University of New Mexico. Named Fort Worth Star-Telegram Boy’s Area Player of the Year, Dallas Morning News 1st Team All-Area, two-time All-District, and district offensive Player of the Year in 2005 at Arlington-Martin. Two-time All-MPSF player at UNM, Brown started his college career as a striker but turned into a utility player and started all over the field in his career.
With Brown and Sajjadi both at Arlington-Martin, you can see why they were ranked #9 in the nation that year.
18 – Marc Miner (HEB area, Texas – LD Bell)
Possibly from the HEB area and may have attended LD Bell.
19 – Janrai Gravely (Dallas, Texas – Colleyville Heritage HS)
Goalkeeper. Born in Brazil. Played college soccer at Belmont University. Was a Dallas Texans GK coach from 2013 to 2015. Now a Chiropractor in Austin, Texas.
20 – Bill Dworsky (Huntsville, Ala. – Randolph School)
Forward. Dworsky lived in Alabama but traveled to Texas each week for training and games. While with the Texans I thought he was a much better prospect than Akpan. Dworsky was fast – unlike Akpan – could finish and had lots of assists.
Dworsky played college soccer at UNC and put up some solid numbers as a freshman and sophomore before an injury killed his career. Missed all of 2008 with a medical redshirt and only played in 9 games after returning.
Coach David Hudgell (Coventry, England)
Coached both the ’87 and ’88 Texans Red teams.
After 16 years with Texas – where he was Director and a Senior DA Coach – left to join BVB North Texas in 2019 as their Technical Director and to oversee their elite programs (ECNL and NPL).
If you have a real Dallas Cup Final box score, a roster for Texans 87/88, know of players or info I missed, or even have a pic of a player I don’t have… let me know in the comments below or reach out on twitter @3rdDegreeNet. I’d love to be able to add to this story.
Iv’e gotten some help and tightened the info up a bit. I’m hopeful of getting some more.
Wild to think about how professional academies have changed youth soccer in the US, acting as magnets for most of the best players. Amazing generation of talent in North Texas (Dworsky aside), and amazing that Texans were able to get all these guys onto the same team. Would be curious to get your thoughts about how these guys would do in the FCD academy today? (EG: who’s the better player at 17: Villanueva or David Rodriguez? Gonzalez or Nico Carrera? McCarthy or Letayf?)
Also, and I know one of y’all asked this question to Dan Hunt the other day, makes you wonder why FCD has allowed its relationships with local clubs like Texans to deteriorate so badly. If FCD could become a pathway directly to the pros for all of DFW (other clubs, high schools, hispanic leagues, etc.) instead of just the Academy, you’ve got to think there’d be a step-change in the talent level.
Where JV has a nod over D-Rod is in his consistency but otherwise, they compare well. I don’t recall JV drifting out of games like David sometimes does. Gonzalez over Carrera at the same age, as Omar was more polished. Nico has TONS of upside and is a better athlete for me, but Omar would completely dominate games. He was scary big and skilled. McCarthy and Letafy is even. McCarthy is bigger but Letayf has a better touch. Outside of that, they are both similar in style, intelligent game readers instead of hard-hitting tacklers. (Although I haven’t seen Letafy since he was 16. ask me again when I see him at 18… if he comes back)
The Academy though is light years better for professional development. The DA kids have a big headstart in terms of professional tactics and style. They also get the chance through tournaments to play better teams. DA is much deeper with better teams than back in the 00s. Tessmann at 18 vs McCarthy at 18 is Tessmann by MILES. Too many times Texans just crushed everyone they faced.
It’s a shame FCD didn’t do a more political job and keep good relationships when starting their Academy. They went a bit scorched earth and all the local teams have a real dislike for FCD… which is counter-intuitive if you are trying to sell tickets. Some early goodwill and outreach might have gone a long way. It would for the best if FCD could funnel all the local talent.
Follow up question: who wins in a time-travel match between the ’06 Texans DC-SG champions and the ’17 FC Dallas DC-SG champions? My initial thought is Texans, but you’re the expert here.
FCD 2017. The DA is a difference-maker. There are 7 players on that team already into their pro career and aren’t yet of age to graduate college. Plus 4 or 5 more in college who could still make a pro career.
I didn’t attend college because I chose to go to Mexico and was on the fuerzas básicas of tigres for 2 years before deciding to return home! After playing them in Dallas cup they convinced my parents to allow me to go out there.
Joe, thanks for letting me know, really glad to get some information on you. Google let me down!
I’m guessing because they listed my legal Mexican name, but at the same time I don’t think there’s much info on past fuerzas básicas rosters.
Yeah, I don’t speak Spanish either and I didn’t have any info on you at all until I talked to Stephen Brown today. Was he right that you are from Grand Prairie and went to SGP?
This tells all — “It’s a shame FCD didn’t do a more political job and keep good relationships when starting their Academy. They went a bit scorched earth and all the local teams have a real dislike for FCD… which is counter-intuitive if you are trying to sell tickets. Some early goodwill and outreach might have fone a long way. It would for the best if FCD could funnel all the local talent.” — and people continue to ask why FCD cannot get a good crowd. This is probably the biggest reason why. Some other youth clubs actually barred their players from attending FCD games.
Yup, the prior-to-Hunts Burn leadership was very concerned about how to roll out an Academy… Hunts didn’t care and just went all in.
That was a fun ride. You got the lineup spot on. Thanks
Great to hear that David. I quite enjoyed watching you play back then.
Ask the Texans about the day they “scrimmaged” FC Dallas consisting of mostly reserves and a couple starters. Rumor has it, the game was called because one team got a little frustrated.