As we begin to transition into the new year, FC Dallas and North Texas SC are bound to make a couple more signings before the start of the season. And sticking to the mantra of “building through the academy,” it might be useful to see who might be getting their first professional contract in the coming weeks.
Straight out of College
This category of academy graduates seems pretty straightforward: it’s basically any player in college who has played in the FC Dallas youth system, whether it is the Academy in Frisco or the FC Dallas youth team in El Paso. Even though MLS has begun to transition away from relying on players from the college ranks, the club still sends many academy alumni up into the college system, so there is a ton of talent to sign.
The first one that first comes to mind is Eddie Munjoma. The right-back has been consistently great for the Mustangs, but his role for SMU increased dramatically this season, and he stepped to the occasion. With 12 goals and 7 assists, he was one of the few on his team to make an appearance in every match. With the departure of Cannon imminent, it makes sense to put quality backup behind the teenager Bryan Reynolds.
Another name that deserves a shout is Brandon Terwege. One of the starters on the U19 side that won the Dallas Cup in 2017, Terwege started his college career in UCLA but transferred this year to SMU. He has also played for Denton Diablos, an NPSL side that debut this season, in the summer. Being one of Luchi’s guys, and with the center back position in North Texas looking pretty thin, it would make sense for the club to sign Brandon with the USL League One side to dip his toes into professional soccer.
One of the more unique players that came out of the FC Dallas system is Holland Rula. The sophomore played more minutes last season but has started every game for the Demon Deacons in the bracket. Wake Forest is now in the final four and will face the number 1 seed Virginia on Friday night. The left-back is known for his impeccable passing and his ability on the ball. A talent like his is probably going to be picked up sooner rather than later, so the club will probably try to sign him soon.
Other names: Phillip Ponder, Aldo Quevedo, Jalen James
Many of the players coming out of the academy already have eyes from all over the world on them. It’s important, especially because MLS doesn’t recognize solidarity payments, that FC Dallas signs these players to a professional contract, whether an FC Dallas or a North Texas contract.
One of the players whose stock has increased dramatically over the past year is Nico Carrera. Carrera was discovered by FC Dallas in the Sueno Alianza of 2016, and he has only improved over the past year. He started multiple games for the U17’s last year, which put him in the spotlight for both the US and Mexico Youth National teams. Him playing for the US U17’s at the World Cup out him in the international spotlight even more, so it’s imperative that he gets signed to a professional contract.
Jonathan Gomez is in a similar situation to Carrera. He was the main starter for NTSC at left-back during the season, which allowed him to play against grown men for the first time in his career. He has also played for the Mexican Youth National teams. He is one of the best-left backs in the FC Dallas academy pipeline, so it would make sense if we saw some kind of transfer soon.
Another player that saw significant minutes with NTSC was Tanner Tessman. The long-time FC Dallas Academy star showed his athletic ability when he played in USL League One, but his most valuable asset is his flexibility. With the academy, he has mostly played in the midfield, playing at times at attacking mid or defensive mid. With North Texas, he also played in the midfield, but fans were also able to see Tessman playing at the striker role when many of the forwards were injured or unavailable. Furthermore, in some of the first games that the U29’s have played this season, Tessman was played at center back. His versatility, coupled with his raw athletic ability, makes him a talented asset for the future.
One of the players that has flown under the radar in the academy is Jose Kevin Bonilla. The right-back was the starter at right-back last year when Reynolds was with the First Team, and he usually played very well. The US Youth International has speed and strength, two tools that are important for an attacking right back. Although his height seems to be a hindrance in the professional game, he more than earned a contract with his performances with North Texas this season.
Other Names: Gibran Rayo, Cesar Garcia, Beni Redzic
From NTSC to FCD
There are only a couple of players that fit this description, but as NTSC enters its sophomore year, expect more homegrowns to start with North Texas and transition to MLS
Arturo Rodriguez was the star of the NTSC squad last year, which earned him all the possible accolades last year: USL League One Final MVP, USL League One Regular Season MVP, and USL League One Assist Leader. Even though his performances merit him getting an MLS contract, the depth in the midfield is deep. Hopefully, he will be given the opportunity to prove himself
The same can and should be said of Ronaldo Damus. The Haitian Striker was the top scorer in USL League One’s inaugural season, scoring 16 goals. He received the Golden Boot and was Number 1 in USL’s 20 under 20. With the number of players in the striker position with FC Dallas, it would be a surprise if he had any impact on the first team, but he should be rewarded the opportunity.
What do you think of the list of possible future homegrowns? Do you agree?
Featured Image: FC Dallas