FC Dallas has always prided itself in being the best academy in Major League Soccer, and have proved it time and time again with the number of homegrowns in the starting eleven.
With Luchi at the helm for the foreseeable future, it makes sense that this trend will continue, so I thought it would be cool to create next year’s all academy lineup.
First up, the backline
Who Will Be Leaving Next Year
Unlike Paxton, Reggie has been explicit in his desire to go to Europe, and until the global pandemic occurred, it looked like he was on his way to leave this summer.
Reggie has been a consistent starter and leader for the team since he became a starter in 2018. At age 21, he already is a mainstay in the Men’s National team, racking up 11 starts in the past 2 years. He also has become one of the many leaders in the locker room, becoming a mainstay in Luchi’s system.
In an article published on MLSsoccer.com, Reggie did state that there was an entire plan set in place for the club to sell him in the near future and that the 5-year contract was created in order to give FC Dallas more ability to sell him. Even if he doesn’t leave this year, it’s clear that Reggie’s future is in Europe.
Asterisk means that the player is not currently signed to FC Dallas or North Texas SC
Jesse Gonzalez, Carlos Avilez, Seth Wilson*
There seems to be no plan for Jesse Gonzalez to leave in the coming future. The still-young goalkeeper has the talent to play abroad, but he seems committed to FC Dallas for the moment. He signed a 4-year contract last year.
Carlos Avilez seems to be waiting for his moment to sign for the first team and has been restricted by Jimmy Maurer and Kyle Zobeck. The young goalkeeper was the first and only player to sign a USL contract with FC Dallas, which led him to train with OKC Energy in 2017. His moment will come, but currently is the starting goalkeeper for North Texas SC
A third goalkeeper is simply a formality, and there is a list of academy graduate goalkeepers that are in college, like Michael Collodi (freshman) or Ben Hale (redshirt junior). However, Seth Wilson seems like the only goalkeeper with a chance of actually signing next year, albeit a very slim chance. The current U19 academy goalkeeper, Wilson is committed to Clemson next year, but as is shown by players like Chris Richards, commitments can change.
Bryan Reynolds, Eddie Munjoma
Bryan Reynolds has been waiting for an opportunity to become a starter for FC Dallas ever since he was signed over 3 years ago. With Cannon eventually leaving for Europe, it looks like Reynolds will get his chance at some point next year.
However, he won’t be without competition, as Eddie Munjoma has also shown in his college career his quality as a player. He is edged out by Reynolds only due to the fact that Reynolds has had years to acclimate to the system, and has been a pro much longer than Munjoma has. However, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Munjoma get his opportunity to shine real soon. Until then, he is definitely going to start for North Texas SC, in order to get minutes and experience.
Brecc Evans, Phillip Ponder, Brandon Terwege*, Nico Carrera*
Currently, the only player in the FC Dallas system that has the ability to maybe starting for the current FC Dallas team is Brecc Evans. The former Cal Poly player is currently on loan to Austin Bold from North Texas and has progressed in quality since he was signed last year. He was part of FC Dallas’ preseason camp in January and has a clear path to becoming a FC Dallas starter in the near future, with Reto Ziegler on the wrong side of 30, and Hedges edging closer to that magic number.
Phillip Ponder is the other current pro who is also an academy graduate. Not much to say about him, as we’ve seen very little action from him. Played with SMU for the last four years.
The first nonpro on the list is Brandon Terwege. He played with Ponder last year and is his final year in college. Many think he is better than Ponder, and he did start more matches that Ponder did for the Mustangs last year. Will likely sign for North Texas SC next year, but weirder things have happened.
The final player on the list is Nico Carrera. He has probably been offered a North Texas contract, but it seems he wants a homegrown contract instead, which makes sense. Carrera is a talented center back who played in the U17 World Cup. Currently committed to Louisville, FC Dallas would offer the 17-year-old a professional contract soon in order to keep him under locks.
Imanol Almaguer, Holland Rula*
The current left-back academy pool is extremely thin, as shown by the fact that Imanol Almaguer is the first player on the list. He actually played in the midfield last year for North Texas, but with the clog of midfielders coming through the pipeline, it makes sense for him to move back to his academy position. Will probably spend the year competing for the left-back position in North Texas.
When you watch Holland Rula play for Wake Forest, he looks like the calmest player on the field. He has been a consistent starter for the Demon Deacons and has shown his versatility by also playing in the midfield. He will get a pro contract soon, but it remains to be seen if he will wait until his senior year to move on for professional soccer.
Next week, we will cover midfielders and forwards.
What do you think of my list? any prominent omissions?
Featured Image: MLSSoccer.com