The FCD Academy Hot List – July 2021

It was back in May that I last did an Academy Hot List and with the end of the MLS Next season it seems a good time for the next edition. 

The Academy players have recently received their signing letters for the 2021-22 season as well so in a month or two I’ll do my usual who’s who in the Academy right before the season kicks off.

The May 2021 FCD Academy Hot List

1. Matthew Corcoran – U15 Holding/Linking Mid (2006)

Corcoran remains the hot name in the Academy. I can only imagine how much his parents must be getting bombarded by agents/scouts/clubs.  He’s played with North Texas and the U17s this year. 

If I can level one criticism of late – and this often strikes kids with this much potential – when he had gone back down the U15s he’s playing a little like he’s bored to be there.  Just as we have sometimes seen when FCD Homegrown go “down” to North Texas SC, Corcoran should totally dominate the “normal” level when he’s back down.

Marcus Lightbourne Jr (3) blocks the shot of Matthew Corcoran (8) in the Dallas Cup U15 final between FC Dallas U15 Academy and SD Surf ECNL 2006. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

2. Nighte Pickering – U17 Striker (2005)

Nighte (the e is silent) signed with an agent so it seems he’s convinced he’s skipping the NCAAs for the pro game.  Is something imminent?  I have seen this early agent move backfire before but he did get multiple FCD first-team invites earlier this year.

3. Antonio Carrera – U17 Goalkeeper (2004)

Carrera is the player I next expect to sign as a Homegrown with FC Dallas perhaps as early as this winter (he turns 18 next March). He’ll spend a couple of seasons starting for NTX – in all probability – after mostly (I assume) playing for the U19s this fall.

FC Dallas U17 goalie Antonio Carrera stops a ball during warmups before the MLS Next Cup quarterfinals match at Toyota Soccer Center. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

4. Diego Hernandez – U17 Central Mid (2005)

The best all-around (current) U17 and their leader. He drives their engine as an 8. Made his North Texas debut last year but hasn’t been there this year.  The only thing that might slow this kid down is the glut of 8s in the organization already.  With the roster overload at the 17s next season I think he will play most of the ‘21-‘22 up with the 19s… or maybe North Texas.

Diego Hernandez
Diego Hernandez of the FC Dallas U17s takes on Strikers Miami FC in the Dallas Cup, March 29, 2021. (Buzz Carrick, 3rd Degree)

5. Antony Ramirez – U17 Wing (2005)

A ball handler and passer in the mode of Thomas Roberts. I do worry that the club doesn’t know what to do with a player like this.  The Mexico camp seems to have raised his profile and his name is in the wind.  I’m a big fan. #51 in the clip below. Usually plays as a false wing these days in the 4-3-3.

6. Tarik Scott – U17 forward (2005)

A player whose stock is rising rapidly.  He’s moved up two tiers on my personal board in the last year and is now on my probable-pro list. Just won the Golden Boot in the U17 bracket of the MLS Next Playoffs despite the U17s losing out in the quarters.

FC Dallas U17 forward Tarik Scott (41) scores the opening goal in the MLS Next Cup quarterfinals match at Toyota Soccer Center. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

7. Julian Eyestone (2006)

The FCD U15 keeper spent much of the latter part of this season with the U17s, made his U19 debut, and even got some North Texas SC training time. Eyestone is up to 6’6” 195 lbs and remains coordinated and athletic with terrific reactions. He had a gaggle of scouts and agents following him around like a herd of lost puppies at the MLS Next playoffs.

Julian Eyestone towers above the game to bring down the cross. (Courtesy @eyestone_tx)

8. Kristian Kelley – U15 Wing (2006)

A player with tons of talent who I felt was underachieving in the past but seems to be putting it together finally. He’s similar in play and style to Dante Sealy.  He started scoring a lot of goals from the wing in the latter half of this season.

FC Houston Pro goalie Carter Stillwell tips Kristian Kelley’s shot over the goal in the Dallas Cup match at MoneyGram Park. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

9. Nolan Norris – U17 Left Back (2005)

I love this kid’s soccer brain. But Norris struggled when he first hit the U17s due to being undersized at the time. Now that he’s caught up physically he’s looking strong and his name is picking up in the chatter. He had a strong MLS Next Playoffs and it won’t shock me to see him with NTX next season at some point.

FC Dallas U17 defender Nolan Norris (32) crosses the ball in the MLS Next Cup quarterfinals match at Toyota Soccer Center. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

10. Santiago Ferreira – U17 central Mid (2004)

This is a banger.

That’s it for our most recent FCD Academy Hot List.  Know of an FC Dallas Academy or Youth player doing great things?  Send us a note. (@3rdDegreeNet on Twitter)


  1. Exciting, exciting group of young players. Not as worried as you are about there not being enough space in the club for all these guys. Obviously some will leave, like Nico Carrera or Jona Gomez, but I’m confident FCD will keep most of the best ones.

    “He had a gaggle of scouts and agents following him around like a herd of lost puppies at the MLS Next playoffs.” LOL So glad I’m not professionally invested in the whims of 15-year-olds.

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