Since its inception few clubs have experienced the success that FC Dallas has enjoyed. They’ve developed a number of professional players including current eight current roster players, Kellyn Acosta (’95), Danny Garcia (’93), Bradlee Baladez (’91), Jesse Gonzalez (’94), Richard Sanchez (’94), Jonathan Top (’93), Victor Ulloa (’92), and London Woodberry (’91).
FC Dallas has also been instrumental in a number of pro’s or future pro’s applying their trade elsewhere, notably, Bryan Leyva (Chivas de Guadalajara), Ruben Luna (Atlanta Silverbacks), Boyd Okwuonu (UNC), Mikey Ambrose (Maryland) to name just a few.
The U18s are lead by FC Dallas homegrown signee and usynt Kellyn Acosta. Acosta has been finding appearances with the first team so his USSDA matches might be numbered. While Acosta’s absence might hurt Dallas there are more than enough quality players to step in behind him.
Last season the U18s finished 1st in the Frontier ‘Texas’ Division. In 2012-2013 FC Dallas U18s were one of the stingiest clubs in all USSDA. The 2013-2014 squad should be similar in that they return U18 veterans ’96 usynt’s Vernon Bailey and Jordan Cano as well as Wake Forest commit Kristopher Reeves (’95) and Troy Reeves (’96). All four players got meaningful minutes last season. The U18s also return solid core players Ethan Sonis (’95), Yannick Koffi, and winger Jose Gonzalez (’95) who was called in to a few Mexican U18 camps last spring.
The U18s will welcome a tremendous core of U16 talent lead by ’97 usynt Coy Craft who might be one of the most talented ’97s in the country. Craft will team with USSDA leading hitman Santiago Agudelo (’96). Agudelo should be familiar to readers of this site as I find him as one of the more under-valued strikers in the whole USSDA. He’s a dual Colombia-American and has not been called up to either countries youth camps. Agudelo scored 24 times last season and could be one of the top scorers at this age division.
The U18s will also welcome ’96 usynt Aaron Meyer who spent time with the US Residency over the last year. Meyer is a steadying presence in the midfield and will be looked to take charge in the center of the park if Acosta is unavailable. Promoted U16s Patrick Khouri (’96), Alex Radilla (’96), Cesar Murillo (’96), Sebastian Gordillo (’96) will also be essential to FC Dallas’ run.
The FC Dallas goalkeeper situation is an interesting race to watch. Recent homegrown signing Jesse Gonzalez (’95) might slip into that role. Gonzalez is an American born player, but recently featured with the Mexican U18s in the NI Milk Cup. He draws lots of comparisons to Richard Sanchez, who like Gonzalez, went on to represent both FC Dallas and Mexican youth sides.
Despite their losses the U16s will return a number of their most talented players. ’97 usynt’s Martin Salas and Christian Ramirez were key to the squad last season will be the undoubted leaders of this years squad. They will be joined by ’98 usynt Alejandro Zendejas who was sensational with the US U15 BNT in Mexico City a few weeks ago. Zendejas will be one of the star players to watch at this age level. He controls the midfield and has an excellent shot. ’98 usynt Weston McKennie is a versatile player who will also provide leadership. Mckennie’s been apart of the FC Dallas U16 side the last few seasons. He can play anywhere throughout the midfield or defense. Look for Damien Hernandez (’98) and Ben Hale (’97) to be integral parts of the squad.
The new look U13/14 division will bring to light some of the better players at this age level in the country. Look no further than FC Dallas’ U13/14 roster for some of the top talent. ’99 usynt goalkeeper Carlos Avilez was on the 2013 id2 roster. Avilez is being touted as being even better than Richard Sanchez and Jesse Gonzalez were at this age. Also look for David Castillo (’99) and Manuel Molina (’99) to be two of the better midfielders in the division.
Academy Star: ’97 Coy Craft
Academy Talisman: ’96 Vernon Bailey
Academy Prospect: ’98 Alejandro Zendejas