Twenty players – the SMU to FC Dallas connection

FC Dallas posted a story today about the connection between FC Dallas and SMU. There are quite a few, from ownership to head coaches to players.  In response, SMU Head Coach Kevin Hudson tweeted that 15 players have been drafted or signed Homegrown by SMU.

Fifteen, eh?  OK let’s make a list. Let’s go deep!

Hum… If I add in players traded for or signed to free-agent contracts… It’s twenty players.

SMU Players Drafted or Signed by FC Dallas

1. Ed Puskarich – 1996 League Launch Draft, 15th Round, 143rd Overall

SMU 1980-1983. A versatile defender, Puskarich has a long career before MLS even started.  Over his 19-year career, Puskarich played both indoors and outdoors professionally. He was with FC Dallas for just one season, 1996. Puskarich currently runs Texas Spurs in McKinney.

8 Jun 1996: Ed Puskarich of the Dallas Burn runs down the field with the ball during a game against the San Jose Clash at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. The Burn won the game 4-1.

2. Paul Broome – 1999 College Draft, 1st Round, 12th Overall

SMU 1995-1998. A forward in college, Broome became an outside back or wingback in the pros although he did still see time in the midfield. He played for Dallas Texans as a youth. With the Dallas Burn from 1999-2003, Broome played in 87 games. He also played for the LA Galaxy from 2003-2005 and Real Salt Lake from 2005-2006.  According to Linked in, Broome is currently a VP with Chemformation but he used to be an FCD Academy coach.

Paul Broome, Dallas Burn.

3. Carl Bussey – 2002 SuperDraft, 1st Round, 9th Overall

SMU 1998-2001. Mostly a wide midfielder or forward out of Plano East High School, Bussey played in three games at the 1995 FIFA U17 World Championship. Bussey played with the Burn from 2003-2005. Made a few appearances with Virginia Beach Mariners in 2003 and was last spotted playing for Dallas Roma in 2005.  Bussey is currently a Dallas Texans coach.

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4. Ramon Nunez – 2004 SuperDraft, 1st Round, 6th Overall

SMU 2003. After one season at SMU where he was named MVC Freshman of the Year, Nunez signed a Generation Adidas contract with MLS and was drafted by FC Dallas.  Nunez first started training with Dallas at the age of 15, well before FCD had an Academy or youth program.  With FC Dallas from 2004-2007, Nunez left and rejoined the club in 2013. 

Nunez has played 44 times for Honduras including the 2010 World Cup where – believe it or not – he not only played against but traded jerseys with Reto Ziegler (See pic). Nunez also played in the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 and in the 2005 World Youth Championships (U-20s).  During his career, Nunez played for Chivas USA, Puebla, Cruz Azul, Olimpia, Leeds United, Scunthorpe United, Alajuelense, Real Espana, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and most recently Fort Worth Vaqueros and Mesquite Outlaws.

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5. Alex Smith – Discovery signing 2006

SMU 2004.  Smith went on a trial at Shrewsbury Town and Walsall and upon return was declared ineligible by the NCAA as a gate was charged at one of the matches he played in.  He was also ineligible to be drafted and a year later was signed as a discovery player. Smith retired at the age of 21 and moved to Australia… where he gave soccer one more try, signing with semi-pro Fraser Park where he won the 2010 NSW Super League Player of the Year award.  Smith went from there to a professional career that lasted until 2019 with appearances for 10 different pro teams in Australia and Malaysia. He was just hired as an Academy coach for Melbourne City.

SMU alumni Alex Smith playing for FC Dallas against local-side Azzuri, August 18, 2005. (Buzz Carrick, 3rd Degree)

6. Chase Wileman – 2007 Supplemental Draft, 4th Round, 45th Overall

SMU 2003-2006. Played two seasons with FC Dallas from 2007-2008.  FCD’s 2008 Reserve MVP. Then one season with the De Moines Menace. A former US U17. He’s currently the men’s Associate Head Coach at the University of Kentucky.

28 Chase Wileman vs LA Galaxy, July 2008. (Rags Gardner, RII)

7. Ben Shuleva – 2008 Supplemental Draft, 3rd Round, 36th Overall

SMU 2007-2008. A defensive mid and tri-captain at SMU after transferring from St John’s.  Google shows he went into finance.

8. Bruno Guarda – Acquired via trade 2008

SMU 2005-2008. Conference USA Player of the Year in both 2006 and 2007.  Signed a Generation Adidas contract middle of his senior season and was assigned to Colorado via weighted lottery and signed an initial contract with the Rapids.  Quickly traded to FC Dallas for a 2nd and 3rd round SuperDraft pick and some allocation money.  Played for FCD from 2008 to 2012. Played for the Dallas Sidekicks in 2019. Currently a soccer coach at the Oakridge School.

29 May 2012 – FC Dallas midfielder Bruno Guarda (#8) during the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Third Round game between FC Dallas of the MLS and the USL PRO side Charlotte Eagles at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Charlotte won 2-0.

9. Ugo Ihemelu – Acquired via trade in 2009

SMU 2001-2004. Drafted by the LA Galaxy. Traded to Colorado Rapids in 2007.  Traded to FC Dallas for Drew Moor, a 2010 SuperDraft Pick, and allocation money in 2009.  Ihemelu played for FCD until 2013 when he retired due to concussions.  Capped twice by the US. According to Linked in he currently teaches at Uplift Education.

14 April 2012 – FC Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu (#3) during the MLS game between FC Dallas and the Montreal Impact at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas won 2-1. (Matt Visinsky, 3rd Degree)

10. Daniel Hernandez – Free agent signing 2009

SMU 1994-1997. Drafted by the LA Galaxy and played with them, Tampa Bay Mutiny, MetroStars, the Revolution, Necaxa, Puebla, Chiapas FC, and finally FC Dallas.  Sign by Dallas in September 2009 and retired in November 2012.  Famously hired by FC Dallas as an assistant coach and then fired three weeks later.  Works at Brant Hickey & Associates.

Daniel Hernandez takes on DC United, May 2010. (Matt Visinsky, 3rd Degree)

11. Dane Saintus – 2010 SuperDraft, 4th Round, 54th Overall

SMU 2006-2009. Cut during spring camp, he never played for FC Dallas.  After playing for DFW Tornados in 2008 and 2009, he signed with the Los Angeles Blues of USL-Pro where he played one season. Head Trainer at City Futsal.

12. Kekoa Osorio – 2011 Supplemental Draft, 2nd Round, 35th Overall

SMU 2007-2010.  Played 73 games for SMU but didn’t have a pro career.

13. Craig Hill – 2011 Supplemental Draft, 3rd Round 35th Overall

SMU 2007-2010.  Goalkeeper. Played for the Austin Aztex U23s (2008), River Plate Puerto Rico (2011), San Antonio Scorpions (2012-2013), Kultsu FC (2014), and KTP (2015). The latter two in Finland.

14. Ian Kalis – 2012 Supplemental Draft, 4th Round, 68th Overall

SMU 2009-2011. Freshman year at Duke. Former Dallas Texans player and youth US International. Parade All-American at Jesuit. 2015-16 Professional Indoor with the Milwaukee Wave. 2016 Graduate of Marquette Law School.  Currently a lawyer.

15. TJ Nelson – 2013 Supplemental Draft, 4th Round, 64th Overall

SMU 2009-2012. Currently plays for the Dallas Sidekicks. Played club soccer for the North Texas Strikers and played for the U.S. U-17 National Team.

16. Jacob Speed – 2016 SuperDraft, 4th Round, 78th Overall

SMU 2013-2015. He played his freshman year at Kentucky.  Former Dallas Texans player.

17. Mauro Cichero – 2018 SuperDraft, 2nd Round, 29th Overall

SMU 2014-2017. AAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2015. Tore an ACL late in the 2017 season.  He likely would have been a 1st round pick if not for the injury. Cichero spent all of 2018 rehabbing with FC Dallas. Was a preseason candidate for North Texas SC but wasn’t signed.

18. Jordan Cano – Homegown signing 2018

SMU 2014-2017. Signed with FC Dallas (Jan 11, 2018) after his senior year at SMU where he was 2017 AAC Defender of the Year. Former US U17 and captain of the FCD U18s during his Academy days. Cano did not see any action in 2018 and was not retained for 2019.

Jordan Cano, 2019. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

19. Eddie Munjoma – Homegrown signing 2020

SMU 2016-2019. From the FCD Academy in the same graduating class as Reggie Cannon, he plays either outside back position.

Eddie Munjoma and family, at the 2019 FC Dallas contract signing ceremony. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

20. Philip Ponder – North Texas SC signing 2020

SMU 2016-2019. From the FCD Academy in the same graduating class as Reggie Cannon, plays center back position.

That’s 20 and I bet I’m missing someone. And there’s a pretty good chance it goes up next year.

Anyone else?

Why yes, I’m glad you asked.

Luchi Gonzalez – Head Coach 2019-2020, Academy Director 2012-2018

SMU 1998-2001. Hermann Trophy winner 2001. 48 goals and 32 assists in college. Drafted 6th overall by San Jose Earthquakes. Played till 2008 for San Jose, Bodens BK, Sporting Cristal, Colorado Rapids, Miami FC, and the Minnesota Thunder.  Former US U17.

Luchi Gonzalez at SMU. (Courtesy SMU Athletics)

Dan and Clark Hunt – Owners

Both Hunts are alumni. Clark was a captain and a two-time Academic All-American for Schellas Hyndman. Lamar Hunt was also an Alumnus.

Clark Hunt (in white, #12) at SMU takes on St Louis University. (Courtesy SMU).

So really, 24 connections.


  1. GP – GiamPaulo Pedrosa – SMU (I think in the early 90s) went on to play for the Sidekicks and later joined the FO staff of FCD when they first moved to Frisco.

  2. Clark had some thunder thighs in his college days. I didn’t realize he played in college. Very cool story, Buzz, and I imagine some time went into aggregating this. Even without being a follower of FC Dallas until 2013 or 2014, it was very neat to read a “Where are they now?” on these guys.

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