20 Years: FC Dallas Homegrown Players

Tailyr Irvine/Staff Photographer FILE – FC Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira (27, left), age 16, scores his first-ever goal — making him the youngest player in team history to score — during a game between FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake at Toyota Stadium in Frisco on June 3, 2017. (Tailyr Irvine/The Dallas Morning News)

As we continue our celebration of 3rd Degree’s 20th birthday, today we’re going to look back at 20 years of Homegrown Players signed by FC Dallas.

Since the creation of the Homegrown Player signing category in 2008, FCD has developed a reputation as having one of, if not the, best academies in MLS. Dan Hunt has stated the dream of an entire starting 11 of Homegrowns.

20 players have been signed by the Huntsmen from their Academy system, that’s a remarkable feat. While some have been massive success, not all of them have made it in MLS.

Let’s take a look back at each of them in order of their signing.

20 Homegrown Players

1. Bryan Leyva – (Chihuahua, Mexico) Attacking midfielder. First came on the soccer radar when as a kid he was invited to train with the Mexican National Team when they visited Dallas. After joining the FCD Academy in 2008, he became the first Academy player signed in 2009 at the age of 17. Leyva played for Mexico in the FIFA U17 World Cup in Nigeria in 2009. Made 9 appearances for FCD before being let go at the end of 2012. Leyva has been held back by injury and his size (5’6") and his career has never reached the heights imagined. Invited by FC Dallas Head Coach Oscar Pareja to FCD spring camp once or twice, he was last seen playing for Dallas City FC in the NPSL.

2. Victor Ulloa – (Wylie, Texas) Holding midfielder. Singed by FCD in 2010 for the 2011 season. Released by the club after the 2013 season but immediately brought back by Pareja for 2014. Including regular season and playoffs he has made 125 appearances for the club. In many ways he represents everything the FCD Academy and FC Dallas is in the Pareja era.

3. Ruben Luna – (Ciudad Victoria, Mexico) Forward. Luna has an amazing youth career. Named U16 Developmental Academy Player of the Year in 2009 (38 goals in 27 games) and U18 DA Best XI in 2010. Made one appearance with Mexico U20s. Signed with FCD the same day as Ulloa and Hernandez. Played 27 games for FC Dallas, scoring 3 goals, before being released at the end of 2012. During his time at FCD he scored 2 goals in a CONCACAF Champions League game and led the reserve league in scoring with 10 goals in 9 games in 2011. In 2013 led the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL to their first ever championship. Played with Inter Playa del Carmen in the Mexican 2nd division in 2014 and 2015. Currently plays for Rio Grande Valley FC Toros in the USL scoring 11 goals in 35 games in his time there.

4. Moises Hernandez – (Seagoville, Texas) Outside Back. Signed with Luna and Ulloa in 2010. Made 33 appearances for FC Dallas before his release at the end of 2016. Was sent on loans to Comunicaciones (Guatamala), Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica), and Rayo OKC (NASL) during his FCD days. Returned to Comunicaciones for the 2017 season making 26 appearances. Represented USA at the U20 level and Guatemala with 15 caps on the senior level.

5. Jonathan Top – (Fort Worth, Texas) Forward. Signed with FC Dallas in 2011, made 4 appearances. Loaned to Arizona United in 2014, joined them in 2015 after release by Dallas. Joined Comunicaciones in 2016 but is unaffiliated in 2017. A former US U20, Top earned one cap with Guatemala back in 2015.

6. Richard Sanchez – (Mission Hills, California) Goalkeeper. Sanchez played with Texas FC and Atletico Madrid’s U16s before joining the FCD Academy. Sanchez has represented Mexico at the U17, U20, and U21 levels; winning the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2011 (4-0-0), played in FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey (1-3-0, 1.25 GAA), and won the CONCACAF U20 Championship in 2013 (5-0-0, 0.20 GAA). After a loan stint with Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Sanchez was sold by FCD to Tigres UANL for a reported $1 million. Loaned by Tigres back to FCD then to Tampico Madero for two seasons. Released by Tigres this summer, rumors floated of a return to FC Dallas since the club was in need of a keeper. Instead Sanchez signed with MLS and was taken by the Chicago Fire via the MLS Allocation process.

7. Bradlee Baladez – (Mesquite, Texas) Forward. The slightly rarer Homegrown Player who played in College first. Part of the FCD Academy team that went to the USSDA Finals in 2009 and 2010, Baladez played three seasons at the University of South Carolina. Signed as a Homegrown prior to the 2013 MLS season. Made one appearance for FCD while spending most of 2013 on loan to Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Released by FCD at the end of 2013, Baladez played with Arizona United in 2014 and Carolina Railhawks in 2015. Current whereabouts unknown.

8. London Woodbury – (McKinney, Texas) Outside Back. Another college homegrown player. A former US U18, won a gold medal at the Australian International Olympic festival in 2008. FCD Academy in 2008-2009, played college soccer for Maryland where he was a 3rd Team NSCAA All-American in 2012. Played PDL with the Baltimore Bays that year. Signed to a Homegrown deal January 2013 and played one season with FC Dallas (8 games). Released in early 2014, played with Arizona United that year. In 2015 Signed by the New England Revolution for whom he still plays, making 43 appearances in 3 seasons.

9. Coy Craft – (Abingdon, Virginia) Forward, Midfielder. Joined FCD Academy in 2011 and won 5 consecutive USSDA Texas/Frontier Division titles. Signed a homegrown deal in 2014 and has made 6 appearances with FC Dallas. On loan to OKC Energy in 2016. A US U18 and U20, won the 2017 CONCACAF U20 Championship. Still plays with FC Dallas.

10. Kellyn Acosta – (Plano, Texas) Holding Midfielder. Born 13 miles from Toyota Stadium. Joined the FC Dallas Academy in 2009 and named USSDA Central Conference Player of the Year in 2011-12. Sign with FC Dallas in late 2013. Although he has represented the US at the U17, U18, U20, U23 and senior level he could have chosen to play for Japan as his father was born there. Played in the 2011 FIFA U17 World Cup and was the youngest member of the US team at the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup. Has made 110 regular season and playoff appearances for FC Dallas. Arguably the best player produced by the FCD Academy to date.

11. Jesse Gonzalez – (Edenton, NC) Goalkeeper. Grew up in Dallas where he played for CD Independiente prior to joining the FCD Academy in 2011. Signed with FC Dallas in March of 2013. Loaned to Pittsburgh Riverhounds in 2015 but only played one game. Became a starter for FCD in the final run of 2015 and has made 50 starts in goal total for Los Toros. Led all MLS goalkeepers with a 0.91 gaa in 2015. Played for Mexico at U18, U20, and U23 level, started for El Tri at the 2015 CONCACAF U20 Championships and the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup. In 2017 opted to play for USA at the senior level as part of the Gold Cup and is now cap tied to them.

12. Danny Garcia – (Dallas, Texas) Midfielder. Joined FCD Academy in 2012 helping them win the U18 DA title that year. Played one season at UNC and was named ACC Freshman of the Year when he scored 4 goals and 6 assists. Signed with FC Dallas in 2013. Loaned to Arizona United in 2015. Released at the end of 2015. In 2016 played with San Antonio FC, which is owned by the Spurs. A former US U18 and U20 including the 2013 CONCACAF U20 Championship and the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup. Unattached in 2017.

13. Alex Zendejas – (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico or El Paso, Texas) Winger. A.k.a. Alejandro Zendejas Saavedra. Born in El Paso, until he was sold by FC Dallas to Chivas after which they listed him as being born in Juarez (because of the Chivas fielding only Mexican players thing). Joined FCD Academy in 2012 and signed with FC Dallas in late 2014 making him the first Homegrown signed from an FCD affiliate, FC Dallas El Paso. Made 8 appearances with FCD over 2 seasons before being sold for $500,000. A former US U15 and U17, as part of signing for Chivas, Zendejas says he will only play for Mexico from now on. Has played 4 games for the Mexico U21s as of this writing. Currently on loan to Zacatepec

14. Aaron Guillen – (Chihuahua, Mexico) Defender. Moved to El Paso when he was 8. FC Dallas Academy 2011 and 2012, joined from El Paso affiliate. Won the 2012 U18 DA National Championship with FCD. Played four years of college ball at Florida Gulf Coast University where he was named 2015 Atlantic Sun Conference Defender of the Year as a senior. Signed homegrown deal with Dallas prior to 2016 season. Played PDL with Austin Aztex in 2013. Loaned to Tulsa Roughnecks in 2017 for a few games. Has made 8 appearances with FC Dallas and is still with the club.

15. Reggie Cannon – (Chicago, Illinois) Right Back. Played recreational level soccer with Predators prior to joining the FCD Academy for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Played one season at UCLA. Signed a homegrown deal prior to 2017 season. A former US U17 and U19. Has made one start for FCD. Remains with FC Dallas.

16. Paxton Pomykal – (Lewisville, Texas) Midfielder. FC Dallas Academy 2014 to 2016 winning national championships at U16 and U18. Signed as a homegrown player in September of 2016. Has made two appearance with FCD and remains with the club. A former US U18 and U19. At his request he currently wears FCD’s #19 dedicated to the memory of Bobby Rhine and assigned only to homegrown players.

17. Jesus Ferreira – (Santa Marta, Colombia) Forward. The son of former FC Dallas midfielder and 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira. An FCD Academy player from 2009 to 2016, Ferreira signed his homegrown deal at age 15. Scored a goal in his professional debut becoming the 2nd youngest player to score in MLS history. He’s been called into a US U17 team but has yet to play in an official game.

18. Bryan Reynolds – (Fort Worth, Texas) Winger. As an FCD Academy player won the 2015-16 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Championship. The youngest player ever signed as a homegrown by FC Dallas. His father Keith played at SMU under Schellus Hyndman and was a US Youth International. Reynolds’ younger brother is also with the FCD Academy. Has yet to make his pro debut spending most of 2017 with the US U17s in preparation for the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup.

19. Carlos Avilez – (Dallas, Texas) Goalkeeper. Not technically a Homegrown Player as he was signed to a "USL affiliate" deal through the club relationship with OKC Energy. He’s essentially a training player and isn’t on FCD’s senior team roster. A player signed for FCD’s U23 USL team… that they don’t have. FCD Academy player since 2012, started for FCD’s 2016 USSDA Championship team. Remains contracted to FC Dallas.

20. Eduardo "Pollo" Cortes – (Zapopan, Mexico) Goalkeeper. Played three seasons with the FCD Academy, 2009 to 2011, starting in FCD’s first USSDA U18 Championship. Played four seasons at IUPUI from 2012 to 2015. Signed with St Louis FC in 2016 but did not play. Trialed with Indy Eleven in 2017. Not officially a homegrown player due to some roster technicality, but is on the FC Dallas roster in the supplemental section as their 3rd keeper.

What Else

"But wait," you say, "you said 20 years of homegrowns!"

True, I did.

But homegrowns have only exited since 2008. So let’s look back at what came before, Nike Project-40 and, as it’s called today, Generation adidas.

The Project-40 now Generation adidas program exists to sign "professional-ready players in the US developmental system not yet eligible for the MLS SuperDraft." The original idea being to allow MLS to compete with foreign clubs for young US kids and to help develop players for the US National team. Eligibility for US teams has been dropped as a qualifier for the program. Now the program signs up young talented players in this country of any nationality who aren’t homegrowns.

Importantly GA players don’t count against the MLS Salary cap. Since they are automatically professionals, they can’t ever play college soccer and thus a college scholarship is written into their contracts.

There is also a new Canadian Generation Adidas program, which will come into play late in this FC Dallas list of players.

Nike Project-40 players drafted or assigned to the Dallas Burn (1997-2005)

Juan Sastoque (1997) Midfielder. The Brooklyn native grew up in California and played one season for Cal State Northridge before joining DFW Toros in the USISL. Signed P40 and assigned to Dallas, Sastoque was sent on loan 5 times before being released in late 1998. Made 5 appearances for the Burn. He kicked around the mid-tier professional league for 10 years and is now a real estate agent in Allen, Texas.

Scott Vallow (1999) Goalkeeper. The Cally native played college soccer for Bowling Green State University before signing P-40 in 1999. Played for the Dallas Burn for only one season, most of it on loan to MLS’s P-40 USL team. In 2000 signed with Rochester Rhinos where he played most of his career. Vallow had short stints without playing with New England and Dallas before landing with Colorado for two seasons. In all he played 167 games with Rochester. He has been a professional soccer assistant coach since 2011 currently with the North Carolina Courage.

Eddie Johnson (2001) Forward. Arguably one of P-40s biggest success stories. Signed with MLS out of the US U17 residency program at IMG in Florida and drafted by the Burn. Scored 24 goals in 84 games for the Burn before being traded to Kansas City in a salary cap move. After leaving the Wizards at the end of ’07 he signed with Fulham in England who loaned him out to Cardiff City, Aris, and Preston North End. Johnson returned to MLS in 2012 with Seattle before playing the last 2 seasons of his career with DC United. A US U17, U20, U23, and senior international (19 goals in 63 caps) highlighted by the 2006 World Cup. Once famously said, "I don’t play video games. I’m a grown-ass man."

Miguel Saavedra (2001) Midfielder. He was kind of a mystery signing by P-40. Although he had been a fringe US U20, no one really knew why he was signed. Dallas selected him in the 6th round almost as a favor to MLS. The Burn loaned him to both Atlanta Silverbacks and Nashville Metros in 2001. Traded to Chicago along with Aleksey Korol for a 6th round pick in Jan 2002. Chicago that season loaned him to the Milwaukee Rampage. Waived in 2002 without playing a single MLS game he did appear in a 2002 CONCACAF Champions Cup game for the Fire. Current whereabouts unknown.

Jordan Stone (2002) Holding Midfielder. An Allen native, a US U17 and U20, Jordan signed P-40 in 2002 when he was selected by Dallas. He never reached his potential and retired after three seasons to attend college at Texas Tech. Stone has been a pastor at several churches since he retired.

Jason Thompson (2003) Forward. Garland native, played at Eastern Illinois from 2000 to 2002. As a freshman led the NCAA in scoring with 21 goals and was named MVC Newcomer of the Year. Injured in 2001, he rebounded in 2002 with 14 goals and 4 assists. Played with the US U23s that year and was signed P-40. Drafted by Dallas, Thompson tore his ACL with the U23s and missed the entire 2003 season. Traded in DC United in 2004 and was waived at the end of 2005. Completed his Doctor of Medicine at the UT School of Medicine in San Antonio and is currently an Orthopedic Surgery Resident there.

Clarence Goodson (2004) Center Back. Won the 1999 U17 National Championship with the Braddock Road Warhawks then played three years at Maryland. He also played in the offseason with Boulder Rapids Reserve, a U23 PDL team. Signing P-40 in 2004, Goodson was drafted by the Burn. He played 74 games in Dallas before being selected by the San Jose earthquakes in the 2007 expansion draft. Dallas had led left him exposed because Goodson wanted to sign in Europe, which he did with IK Start of Norway. In 2011, Goodson signed with Danish club Brøndby before returning to the Quakes in 2013 where he played till the end of 2016. Goodson is a US International having made 46 appearances with the US, including scoring in the 2009 Gold Cup semifinal against Honduras and being part of the 2010 World Cup squad. He also made one appearance on HGTV’s House Hunters International where he and his wife looked for an apartment in Copenhagen. Currently involved with the US Soccer Foundation and the effort to bring training fields to places in the US.

FC Dallas drafted Generation Adidas players (2005 to Current)

Drew Moor (2005) Defender. First started training with Dallas Burn as a teenager. One season at Furman and two at Indiana where he won back to back NCAA titles. 2004 PDL with Chicago Fire Premier. Drafted in ’05 by Dallas after signing Generation adidas. Played 123 games for Dallas before being traded to the Rapids for Schellas Hyndman’s favorite Ugo Ihemelu. Allowed to leave Colorado as a free agent, Moor signed for Toronto FC in 2016 where he still plays despite his heart arrhythmia diagnoses. A US U20, Moor has 5 caps for the senior US side. In 2011 he set the MLS record for consecutive games played by a field player with 68.

Dax McCarty (2006) Midfielder. US U17 residency then UNC for two seasons, along with PDL with Ajax Orlando Prospects. Signed GA and drafted by Dallas in 2006. Selected by Portland with their #1 expansion Draft pick at the end of the 2010 season he was immediately traded to DC United and then traded again midseason to New York Red Bulls. 169 games later he was once again traded, this time to Chicago where he still plays. A US U20 and U23, McCarty has 13 caps with the senior US side.

Blake Wagner (2006) Defender, Midfielder. Another IMG residency player, Wagner signed GA after playing in the 2005 FIFA U17 World Cup. Selected 18th overall by Dallas in 2006, he played 37 games for the Huntsmen before his contract expired at the end of 2009. In 2010 Wagner signed with Vancouver Whitecaps in the NASL. He was again signed by Vancouver, the MLS version, in 2011. In 2011 he signed with RSL, in 2012 with San Antonio (played 2 seasons), in 2014 with Tampa Bay Rowdies, and in 2015 with the Carolina Railhawks. In 2017 he became an assistant coach with Tampa Bay’s U23 team. Wagner was a US U17, U20, and U23.

Anthony Wallace (2007) Left Back, Holding Midfielder. Another IMG residency player signed GA and drafted by Dallas in 2007. Traded to Colorado in 2010 and taken by Portland in the 2010 expansion draft only to be immediately traded back to Colorado for allocation money. Wallace played with Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2014, New York Red Bulls in 2015, Jacksonville Armada in 2016, and OKC Energy in 2017. A former US U17 and U20, Wallace has one cap with the senior US team.

Fuad Ibrahim (2007) Forward. Born in Ethiopia but raised in Richfield, Minnesota. Yet another IMG residency kid. Signed GA and taken by Dallas in 2007. 0 games for Dallas before being traded to Toronto. After 26 games for Toronto over two seasons, Ibrahim did not play in 2011. He played with Minnesota Stars (future United) in 2012, then with AC Kajaani in Finland for two seasons, before re-joining Minnesota United in 2015 for one season. Current whereabouts unknown. A former US U17and U20, Ibrahim has 10 caps for Ethiopia at the senior level.

Eric Avila (2008) Forward, Midfielder. Another US residency kid, Avila played three seasons at USCB. Signed GA in 2008 he was drafted by Dallas 19th overall. In later 2011, FCD traded Avila to Toronto for Maicon Santos and an international roster spot. Since then Avila has played for Chivas USA (’12-’14), Santos Laguna (’15-’16), on loan with Orlando City (’15), with Tampa Bay Rowdies (’16), and is currently with Phoenix Rising FC. Avila is a former US U17 and U20.

Josh Lambo (2008) Goalkeeper, NFL Kicker. A former Chicago Magic youth player, Lambo was in US Residency when he signed GA. Drafted by FCD in 2008 he never played in an MLS game but did play in friendlies for the club. Missed second half of 2008 after breaking his jaw in a reserve game. Loaned to FC Tampa Bay in 2010. Waived at the end of 2011. He "retired" from soccer at 21. In the Fall of 2012, Lambo enrolled at Texas A&M where he became a kicker for the football team. In 2015, Lambo was signed as a free agent by the San Diego Charges where he kicked for two seasons and is now kicking with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lambo is a former US U17 and U20.

Brek Shea (2008) Defender, Midfielder. The College Station native played for Texans SC (the Houston club) before joining US Residency. Signed GA in 2008 and drafted 2nd overall by FC Dallas. 98 games and 19 goals later, Shea signed with Stoke City in the EPL. After loan stints with Barnsley and Birmingham City, Shea returned to MLS and Orlando City in 2015. Shea was traded to Vancouver prior to the 2017 season. A former US U17, U20, and U23, Shea has 34 caps with the senior US team.

Peri Marosevic (2009) Forward. Born in Bosnia prior to the Bosnian War, Marosevic and family moved to German and then Illinois to escape the conflict. After playing youth soccer for Rockford Raptors and Chicago Sockers, Marosevic played three seasons and Michigan as well as PDL ball with Chicago Fire Premier. Signing GA in 2009, he was selected by FC Dallas. After a loan to Austin Aztex in 2010, Marosevic asked for his release in 2011 and was granted it by FCD. He then signed with Toronto FC where he finished the season. He has since played two seasons for Junak Sinj in Croatia, two seasons for New York Cosmos, and in 2015 played for Michigan Bucks of the PDL. Marosevic is a former US U17, U18, and U20. He’s currently a Development Academy Coordinator at U.S. Soccer.

Andrew Wiedeman (2010) Forward. An NSCAA All-American at Cal, Wiedeman signed GA after his junior year and was drafted by FC Dallas 21st overall. He was traded to Toronto in 2012 as part of the Julian de Guzman deal. After three season with Toronto he signed with the Ottawa Fury where he played one year. In 2016 he was one of the first 11 signings made by USL expansion team FC Cincinnati where he still plays. Wiedeman is a former US U18.

Walker Zimmerman (2013) Center Back. Out of the Gwinnett Soccer Association academy team in Georgia, Zimmerman played two seasons at Furman before signing Generation adidas. Drafted by FC Dallas 7th overall, Zimmerman remains with the club today. He’s made 89 regular season appearances for Los Toros. Zimmerman is a former US U18, U20, and U23. He recently received his first US senior cap.

Adonijah Reid (2017) Forward. Last, but not least. One of the new Canadian Generation adidas signings, picked by FC Dallas 40th overall. Began playing soccer age 5 with Caledon SC, later joining ANB Futbol Academy. In 2015 with ANB Futbol scored 20 goals in 20 games in League 1 Ontario. Reid spent 2017 on a season long loan to Ottawa Fury where he made 12 appearances scoring 1 goal. Reid turned 18 in August and is, as they say, one for the future. Reid has participated in developmental camps for Canada’s U18s and U20s, both while he was 16, and is also eligible for Jamaica.

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3rd Degree is an independent FC Dallas blog. Founded in 1997, 3rd Degree has been in partnership with the Dallas Morning News since 2012. You can always find us at www.3rddegree.net and follow us on Twitter @3rdDegreeNet.

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