The FCD Academy Hot List – April 2023

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, partially because people always seem to misunderstand. So let me be very clear…

This is **NOT** a Homegrown candidate List

This is just a list of players doing cool things of late.

OK, got it? Good.

Let’s begin.

The Hot List

1. Julian Eyestone

FCD U17, 2006, Re-classified Class of ’23, Duke commit.

What a run Eyestone is on this spring. Makes the North Texas SC squad and starts the season opener at LAFC 2 where all he does is earn the Man of the Match nod.

Rejoins the U17s for GA Cup and helps make the run to the Finals happen.  Makes the game-winning save in the penalties to win the Semi versus the highly favored Crew. Goes on to be named U17 Goalkeeper of the Tourney.

Eyestone was also the US U17 third (emergency) keeper for the Concacaf Tournament and he trains with the FCD first time pretty much full-time at the age of 16.

Julian Eyestone was named Generation adidas Cup Best Goalkeeper at the 2023 GA Cup. (Courtesy MLS Nest)
Julian Eyestone was named Generation adidas Cup Best Goalkeeper at the 2023 GA Cup. (Courtesy MLS Nest)

2. Jared Salazar

FCD U17, 2006, Class of ‘24, Uncommitted

Salazar made a massive impression at the GA Cup helping lead his side to the Final.  He had three game-winning goals, tied for the Golden Boot (3 goals), and was named to the GA Cup Best 11.  A superior performance.

With Ale Urzua moving on to North Texas SC and Matthew Corcoran signing with Birmingham Legion last year, Salazar is carrying a lot of the weight in the FCD U17 Midfield.

Nayrobi Vargas and Jared Salazar tie with several other players for the 2023 GA Cup U17 Golden Boot with 3 goals. (Courtesy MLS Next)

3. Samira Minor

FCD U16, 2007, Class of ’25, Uncommitted

Minor scored four goals in FCD Youth 07G ECNL’s 5-0 win in over BVB 07 in the Dallas Cup Semi-Final including an 8-minute hat trick.  She finished with 5 goals in the Cup to lead the side.  FCDY 07G ECNL won their second straight Dallas Cup.

Minor is also a basketball player at Lone Star according to my brief research.

Samira Minor, Lone Star High School.

4. Aiden Gallardo

FCD U13, 2010. Class of ’28?

Led the FC Dallas U13 team in goals with 6 on the way to the 2023 U13 Dallas Cup title.  Scored both FCD goals in the Final against Dallas Texans. 

The 2010s for FCD are apparently loaded, but Gallardo is one of the names I hear most frequently.

Aiden Gallardo with the FCD U13s in the 2023 Dallas Cup.

5. Diego Ferruzzi

FCD U19, 2004, Class of ’22, uncommitted.

Played ECNL over Academy the last few seasons to be able to play high school soccer at McKinney Boyd where all he did was score massive goals.

Taking a gap year with the Academy this season, Ferruzzi was immensely productive in the Dallas Cup with goal contributions on 4 of his side’s 5 goals: an assist v Botafogo, an assist vs Real Madrid, and a goal and assist vs Monterrey. 

Diego Ferruzzi shoots vs Monterrey in the 2023 Dallas Cup. (Douglas Fejer, Dallas Cup)

6.  Lorenzo Hernandez

Pre-Academy U11, 2021. Class of ’30? (good grief)

Hernandez led the Pre-Academy U11 team to the Final of the Go Cup in Brazil where they lost 3-4 to a really good Palmeiras team. This was the deepest run an FCD side has ever made at that tournament.

Hernandez tied for the Golden Boot at the Go Cup with 14 goals.

Pre-Academy U11 in Brazil a the Go Cup.

7.  Diego Pepi

FCD U19, 2004, Class of ’23, Uncommitted.

Diego made the amazing jump from ECNL directly to North Texas SC, bypassing the Academy.  He made his NTX debut and has now played in two games.  He’s one of three Academy players to get minutes on an amateur contract this season.

After making the NTX side, Pepi joined the FCD U19s under new coach Chuy Vera to play in the Dallas Cup where all he did was score against Real Madrid and Monterrey.

Diego Pepi, excited.

8. Nayrobi Vargas

FCD U17, 2006, Class of ’24, Signed with Agent.

A Honduras U17, Vargas has played 14 games with 9 goals; including 3 starts, 2 subs, and 3 goals at the Concacaf U17 Championships.

Vargas scored three goals at the GA Cup to tie with Salazar (and a couple of others) for the Golden Boot and – as mentioned many times on the broadcasts – he’s FCD U17s leading scorer this season.

Nayrobi Vargas with Honduras. (Courtesy Honduras National Team)

9. Saúl Rios

FCD U14, 2009. Class of ’27?

Rios helped the FCD U14s allow just 1 goal in Dallas Cup group play and then shut out Eintracht Frankfurt in the Quarters.  He held Eintracht to just 2 for 5 on the PKs to advance. The U14s finally succumbed to eventual champs Academia Atlas 2-1 in the semi.  

Rios joined the FCD Academy from FCD El Paso late last season.  

Saul Rios at the US National Team Campus at IMG in Florida.

10. (tie) Kiara Gilmore, Tessa Arreola, Bella Martinez

FCDY 07G ECNL, 2007, Class of ’25 (probably).

For being named to their respective U16 National Teams for the 2023 Women’s Mondial Montage Tournament in France won by the US U16s. Kiara Gilmore for USA, Tessa Arreola and Bella Martinez for Mexico.

Is there anyone I missed? Let me know below.


  1. Shoutout to Malachi Molina: GA Cup Best XI honorable mention with at least two assists during that tournament (and maybe a third in the quarterfinal) playing mostly as a defender for a team that gave up four goals (including that non-PK in the final) across seven games. Turned me into a believer.

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