With the announcement of Eric Quill as the first head coach of North Texas Soccer Club, I thought it would be interesting to see a roster breakdown. Although most of these players will probably be introduced to the starting eleven at some point during the season, it is worth noting that any signings of FC Dallas or of North Texas SC could affect the depth chart.
Before heading into the depth chart, it is worth noting who our new head coach is. Born in Texas, Eric Quill had a relatively decent career in MLS that spanned teams like Tampa Bay Mutiny, the MetroStars, and none other than the Dallas Burn. Before being selected as head coach here in Frisco, he’s managed the University of Houston Women’s Team and Texans SC Houston which won the USSDA with the U18s in 2017.
He comes to Dallas with a respectable coaching career, but one must assume that Luchi and the Hunts selected him due to the fact that they believe he can fit Luchi’s playstyle. I am hopeful that both systems complement each other so that player movement can be swift and easy.
Luchi plays a formation similar to Oscar’s: the academy teams play most of the time in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3. If both teams mimic each other, then it’s safe to say that Quill will use that same formation. This is the depth chart of this formation, which includes signed players from both NTXSC and FCD and also includes unsigned draft players and academy players. It does not include current FC Dallas trialists Mohamed Essay and Kris Reaves.
This is a visualization of the roster I put together:
*Edit: I realize now both Twumasi and Atuahene will see a significant amount of minutes here, but both will also rotate between both teams.
It is very probable that Ikoba, Ebstein, and Montgomery. The coaching staff entered the SuperDraft knowing that they needed players to place in NTXSC in order to keep the academy teams intact
Players that have an asterisk will probably rotate heavily between FC Dallas and NTXSC. Roberts and Nelson especially will see first team minutes if injuries occur, which will inevitably happen during the season. It is worth noting that Cichero, although not signed and not on the preseason roster, will definitely have the opportunity to sign due to his skill quality. There is a reason the team helped him recuperate from his ACL injury in Frisco.
Also, these players are the players I believe will be used consistently during the incoming season. There are players like Dante Sealy and Imanol Almaguer that will get a start or two with this team, but at some point with the academy, you have to leave enough players to fill out an 18-man roster every weekend. Both are skilled players, but the club also has to keep the level of the academy at a good level.
That’s the beauty of Having North Texas SC. With the second team being integrated, the first team field will have around 45 players on the turf in different parts of the season. The 15-year olds will train with the 35-year olds, and you don’t know who will start for the first team. This is, again, an idea of what the depth chart could look like. Nothing is set in stone, and nothing will be set in stone until the ball starts rolling on March 2nd.
So let’s go through each position
Eduvie Ikoba, Ricardo Pepi, Ronaldo Damus, Johan Gomez
Out of all these players, both Damus and Ikoba are the most experienced, which is a weird statement considering the average age of these players is just over 18 (if you add Sealy, who is next in line, on that list, the average age is 17.6). Both players play completely different styles. Ikoba, who was drafted out of Dartmouth, is a massive target forward, measured at 6 foot 4. Damus is more of a speedy player, who can play out wide, but is better in front of the net due to his finishing ability. Both will probably rotate during the season, especially since it’s assumed that Damus will get call-ups to the Haitian National Team.
The other two are young projects. The ownership signed Pepi mainly to lock him up and to gain his rights, as many European Teams were looking at him over the past year. He and Gomez also play a similar style: both aren’t flashy in front of goal, but they are always are at the right place to score a header or tap in, and they also have a good scoring touch.
Expect Ikoba and Damus to play most of the minutes up top, with Pepi, Gomez, and Sealy play most of their minutes in the academy, with a couple of NTXSC matches sprinkled in.
Left: Ema Twumasi, Sam Ebstein, Beni Redzic
Right: Tanner Tessman, Francis Atuahene
Both Twumasi and Atuahene will contribute to FC Dallas and NTXSC, but their development will increase now with the existence of the second team. Ebstein is an athletic winger who had 3 solid seasons for the California Bears.
Redzic, like the other two, will be projects. However, Tessman is one of those academy players that has the quality to start for NTXSC regularly. A season as a starter for the second team could give him a contract with FC Dallas. He is one I would watch attentively this season.
Mauro Cichero, Thomas Roberts
This is the most skilled position on the field. Both players are amazing players and have both earned a contract with FCD (Cichero has been rehabbing in Frisco for a year). Both will probably rotate between a bench spot in Toyota Stadium and a starting role for NTXSC.
It’s also worth noting that if any of the attacking midfielders get injured this year, either one will get massive opportunities.
Alfusainey Jatta, Edwin Cerrillo, Diego Rodriguez, Diego Letayf
It is heavily inferred that Cerrillo will sign a contract with FC Dallas since he was seen during the last season with a first team training jersey. He won’t start with FC Dallas, especially if Gruezo stays with the club. He could use a year to develop with NTXSC into a professional player that could give Gruezo a run for his money.
Jatta, from highlights, which is all we have to look at, seems a starting caliber player. However, it’s very hard to tell just from highlights.
Both Letayf and Rodriguez, like a lot of other academy players, will play a handful of games. They will still play mostly for the academy.
Left: John Nelson, Julian Hinojosa
Right Backs: Bryan Reynolds, Kevin Bonilla
If at any point, Pedroso gets injured, Nelson will give Hollingshead a run for his money at that opportunity to play. Same goes for Reynolds if Cannon gets injured. Their backups, Bonilla, Hinojosa, and (possibly) Almaguer, are quality players that could play 5+ games for NTXSC during the season
Callum Montgomery, Brecc Evans, Judson Burns, Nathan Toledo, Nico Carrera
If Kris Reaves signs for NTXSC or FC Dallas, that would be good for the depth of the backline. Montgomery, (potentially) Reaves, and Moises are probably going to be the backups for the three starting-caliber center backs on FC Dallas’ roster, and they will need to do heavy rotation with the second team due to the fact that the academy teams aren’t that deep at center back (If you take Burns and Toledo, the only real CB left on the roster is Sow Sow).
Carlos Avilez, Kyle Zobeck
Carlos Avilez is already on a Homegrown contract, and it is assumed that if Avilez is healthy, he will start over Zobeck, who will be a backup. Avilez is supposed to be a future starter for the first team in a couple years, and starting for the second team should allow him to grow into a starting caliber player.
So what do you guys think? Any player I missed? This could change in a matter of days, so I’ll do another roster breakdown before the season starts for NTXSC on March 30th.
Featured Image: FC Dallas