If FC Dallas were to be summed up in a short phrase some may respond with “#PlayTheKids”, “Best Academy”, or “Selling Club”.
Within the last five years, Los Toros has had a flurry of activity when it comes to the development and transfer of their homegrown talent. Many are familiar with a (non-comprehensive) list of some successful players: Weston McKennie (Juventus – Serie A), Cristian Cappis (Hobro IK – 1. Division), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/FC Bayern Munich – Bundesliga), Reggie Cannon (Boavista – Primeira Liga), and Bryan Reynolds (Roma -Serie A).
These recently transfers begs the question: Is FC Dallas on the brink of international recognition and notariety?
The most recent transfers indicate a personal success for players and their ambition to play “The-Beautiful-Game” at the highest level within Europe. Eight players with ties to the FC Dallas Academy have represented the United States internationally within 2021.
“It’s been really transformative from an economic standpoint and we’re participating in what the rest of the world does,” FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said of recent international transfers. “We’re hearing it, we’re seeing it, we’re feeling it. The clubs are reaching out and there’s a pedigree associated with our players that come from our youth system and those in the first team. We have generations of players coming behind.”
FC Dallas is known within MLS for having one of the best, if not the best, youth system in terms of youth development and success. With multiple national championships and Dallas Cup victories across multiple age groups, the academy has demonstrated its success amongst its athletic peers consistently.
“It’s a really proud thing that I think our club has achieved,” Luchi Gonzalez about FC Dallas’ Academy successes. “In our reflection, it’s something that [FC Dallas] is very passionate about. At the same time, every academy is getting better … but I want us to keep the benchmark high, that standard high, and maybe the next World Cup we can qualify with the USMNT and have six or seven guys in that roster that have been a part of our academy. That would be such a proud moment for our club.”
The organization has committed to the further development of young players with the introduction of North Texas Soccer Club. North Texas SC has provided players like Bryan Reynolds, Ricardo Pepi, and Tanner Tessmann competitive professional minutes key for their development.
“Having North Texas [Soccer Club] is great and the test case for North Texas SC is Bryan Reynolds,” Dan Hunt said of the value that North Texas SC provides. “He goes and gets all those matches. There’s a reason why we did this investment in the club and why we’re spending this money. It’s an out-of-pocket expense but it’s allowing us to develop players and have them get games.”
The development pyramid is clear starting with the academy to North Texas SC to FC Dallas. The “FC Dallas Pyramid” is the pathway for developing the highest quality player with north Texas. Though, the player must have the mentality and will to become a professional at the highest level that the sport has to offer.
“I was visiting with [Bayern Munich’s] staff when we sent the six players over there and their comment was, ‘There were a couple [of FC Dallas players] that could make the first-team of FC Bayern. The one thing that we can tell you is that the players that come from FC Dallas are different because of the level of professionalism, the way they conduct themselves, their effort in everything they do, and the respect that they show. We have so many players come in and they lack those personal qualities,” Hunt said of the comment he has received. “They said, ‘There are kids that are not going to make it at FC Bayern and they’re not at the level but we know that they will give us everything and do everything that we ask of them and be respectful.’ I think we do a great job of not building up players but we also build up the person here.”
As FC Dallas continues the 2021 season with eleven homegrown available for selection, the club will highlight and feature these young and promising players. For a club that has signed thirty-two homegrowns to date, there is without a doubt, that multiple eyes around the league and world will be watching not just those players but the entire system that resides with DFW in anticipation for the next FC Dallas homegrown talent.