For many of the FC Dallas academy alumni, their season began last weekend, as college soccer programs began this past weekend. Now that the club has to teams to place academy graduates, it is worth looking at many of the possible future homegrowns that are available for selection.
*Note: Only NCAA Division 1 players are listed here.
The Star Players
Blake Willis (Columbia)
Blake is currently the only academy graduate to be on the Top Drawer Soccer National Top 100 player rankings, entering the season as number 78. He was part of the U15/16 team that won the national championship in 2016, along with current homegrown players Brandon Servania, Jesus Ferreira, and Bryan Reynolds, a team that was managed by current head coach Luchi Gonzalez. Blake is set to have a breakout junior year, as he has been a constant name on the team sheet of the Lions. He seems to be a sure bet for either a homegrown signing or a North Texas SC contract.
Cole Guindon (Kentucky)
Cole is an interesting player. He joined Kentucky last year from the FC Dallas Premier side, the side that plays in local leagues instead of the USSDA. But as a Freshman, he was an integral part of the side that became 3rd best in the nation. Entering his sophomore year, he already has the left-back position on lock, starting the first two games. This type of consistent play is an important aspect of a professional.
Brandon Terwege, Phillip Ponder, and Eddie Munjoma (SMU)
All three of these players have been in discussion by fans as possible homegrown signings for a while now. Brandon was rumored at the end of his last season with the academy, but he decided to play college ball. Phillip and Eddie have been staples of a consistent Mustangs team that have made the NCAA playoffs for the last couple years. All three of them are expected to be an important part of the SMU team for this year, and all of them have the talent o be homegrowns.
Luis Hernandez (NIU)
He wasn’t expected to be one of the top players on this list, but Luis has started the first two games and has looked solid at the defensive mid role. He plays almost like Imanol Almaguer of North Texas, who, interestingly, was committed to play with NIU before signing a contract with the club. Luis was a regular starter in the academy, so Luchi knows what he can bring to the table.
Bryan Padilla (Maryland)
Bryan barely played for the champions last year, but it seems that he is going to get his opportunity this year, starting the first two games for the terrapins. He was one of the most talented players in the academy when he was in Frisco and has also earned callups to the youth national teams. If he performs well, he could be a homegrown signing for the club next year, as he has played under Luchi before.
Holland Rula (Wake Forest)
Holland was a regular for the Deacs last year, including their playoff run. In his sophomore year, however, it seems that he has lost his starting spot, as he hasn’t started in the first two games. He still is a player of interest, as his versatility and ability on the ball is rare for a defender.
The Dark Horses
Reed Berry (Oral Roberts)
Reed is also a non-academy player, but his start of the season has been extremely impressive, with a brace and an assist in his first two games, which has to lead the Golden Eagles to a flying start to begin the season. If he continues to play like he has for the first to matches of the season, the freshman will definitely be someone that the club should keep an eye on.
Mark Salas (UNC)
Salas has been a regular for the Tar Heels for his entire stay at the university and played alongside John Nelson last year. The academy graduate quietly has impressed in his stay at UNC, and has shown that he can become a great player for FC Dallas if signed.
Daniel Evans (Kentucky)
Daniel was unable to play many games for Kentucky last year due to the fact that current MLS forward JJ Williams was tearing up teams left and right. But this year, it seems that he has been given his chance, as he has started the first two games. Daniel has big shoes to fill that come with massive expectations, but he has been given the opportunity to impress this year.
Aldo Quevedo (Yale)
Aldo has been a regular for Yale for the last two years, and he is looking to do the same this year. A prolific goalscorer, Depending on Aldo’s performances this year, he could tip towards a possible contract.
Dylan Sadler (Campbell)
Dylan has been a starter for the Camels for the last two years, and he continues his presence on the Campbell team sheet. If he stands out this season, the club should definitely take a look at him.
Giovanni Montesdeoca (UNC)
Giovanni was expected to be a regular starter for the Tar Heels entering the season, but prior to the beginning of the season, he got injured while playing for local club Denton Diablos during the summer. That doesn’t take away from the talent that this kid has; he showed glimpses of it last year when he was given the opportunity. He was created by Luchi, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the club signed him to a North Texas contract.
Ben Hale (Furman)
Currently the second in the pecking order, Ben has taken a redshirt year, which means that he won’t play much for the Palladins this season. However, he still is one of the best goalkeepers that the academy produced, and many still remember the championship he won with the U18’s. He has and continues to be a possible homegrown signing in the future.
There are multiple freshmen that will get limited to no playing time this year, which is normal for a freshman. For many, their first year at the university is mainly to prove that they belong, and then they begin to play more regularly in their second year, which is shown by the trajectories of players like Bryan Padilla. These players may not play much this year, but they are still possible future homegrown signings.
*Note: This includes Redshirt Freshmen
Julian Hinojosa (NIU)
Phoenix Ibanez (Oral Roberts)
Judson Burns (Clemson)
Michael Collodi (Columbia)
Nathan Dominguez (Oral Roberts)
Greg Lopez (Oral Roberts)
Tucker Littleton (Incarnate World)
Joseph Nelson (Incarnate World)
Andres Quevedo (Syracuse)
Mark Roby (USC)
Kevin Kim (Mercer)
Jalen James (Campbell)
Adrian Morales (Campbell)
Irvin Dominguez (NIU)
Miguel Maynez Jr (NIU)
Sevon Pendergrass (SMU)
Martin Salas (UNC)
Trevor Jackson (U of Central Arkansas)
Matt Karasinski (Campbell)
Alex Bautista (NC State)
Trey Marchino (Dayton)
Even though it will be during an important stretch of the regular season, it is worth it for fans to watch a couple of college games, especially games where FC Dallas academy graduates play in. Seeing these future professionals play is exciting, and one day they might exit the locker rooms of Toyota Stadium.
FC Dallas return to action on Saturday, September 14 at the Chicago Fire at 2:30 pm, which can be seen on ESPN+
Featured Image: FCDallas.com