It's almost time for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championships as the North American soccer scene starts to awake from the holiday slumber and FC Dallas Homegrowns will once again play a big part in the tournament which serves as qualifiying for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
The Mexico roster was released just a few days ago and for the second-straight cycle, an FC Dallas Homegrown goalkeeper will be between the pipes for El Tri.
Jesse Gonzalez has been called up for the Mexico U-20s as one of two goalkeepers for a Mexico team that will face Cuba, Canada, Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti from January 10th through 22nd with the top team from each group advancing to the U20 World Cup and the next four teams playing in playoff matches to also earn spots in the tournament.
The Unites States U-20 CONCACAF Championship team is set to be announced on Monday with Kellyn Acosta expected to be one of the midfield captains for Tab Ramos' squad.
What a year it was. Here are the best photos of 2014 shot by Rick Yeatts, Olivia Brestal, Erik Davila & USA Today Sports Images
SEGMENT 1: Show co-hosts Marc Stein and Steve Davis begin going over the 2014 year in soccer, answering the question: "Who did 2014 belong to?"
SEGMENT 2: Brian Sciaretta from the New York Times and American Soccer Now joins to review the year for Jurgen Klinsmann and his U.S. men's national team.
SEGMENT 3: Brek Shea is back in the U.S.A, newly signed to Orlando City's expansion side. Marc Stein got a few minutes with the former FC Dallas winger (who was joined on speaker phone by New England's Lee Nguyen.)
SEGMENT 4: Show producer Tyler Kern joins in as we all talk about our favorite goal from 2014.
We're nearing the end of 2014 and what a year it was. FC Dallas with Oscar Pareja at the helm set or tied a number of team records, reached the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup semifinals and went undefeated through three games in the MLS Cup Playoffs falling to Supporter's Shield winners Seattle Sounders FC on away goals.
2015 is going to be one of the biggest years in team history, but before we turn the page, let's have some fun and see how much you remember from 2014.
Here's our year-end quiz, take it and see how you stack up against the rest of the #DTID nation. Good luck!
SEGMENT 1: Show hosts Marc Stein and Steve Davis review some big local happenings, including the announcement that the U.S. National team's Gold Cup campaign will open at Toyota Stadium in July.
SEGMENT 2: D.C. United co-owner Jason Levien joins to talk about last week's big MLS news, that his franchise finally has approval for a stadium. The news has been nearly 20 years in the making.
SEGMENT 3: New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies joins to talk about his long road back to being a productive pro striker.
SEGMENT 4: Some holiday talk from the hosts, who reveal their favorite all-time soccer-related gifts.
The full FC Dallas preseason schedule should be announced within the next couple weeks, but we learned one destination Oscar Pareja's side will be headed to in the 2015 preseason as the Austin Aztex, who will join USL Pro in 2015, are hosting the ATX Pro Challenge.
The four-team tournament which will take place from Feb. 13-15 at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus will see FC Dallas play Columbus Crew SC at 5:45 on Friday, February 13th with Austin Aztex to play DC United following that match.
The two winners and losers will play each other on the afternoon of Sunday, February 15th in the 3rd place and championship matches.
Tickets go on sale Friday, January 9th and you can find all the information on the ATX Pro Challenge right here.
Who's up for a road trip?
The opening weekend of the 2014-2015 US Youth Soccer National League took place in Wilson, NC last weekend and the FC Dallas Premier U17 & U18 teams went undefeated in eight combined games. The teams will meet again in Florida in late December as they look to book a ticket to the National Championships in Tulsa in 2015. Here's a recap of the action:
FC Dallas 97 U18 Premier boys go 4-0 at National League play behind five goals from Sergio Lara
97 Premier defeated Fullerton Rangers 2-1 with Sergio Lara and Jose Benitez scoring in their first match. They followed that up with a 2-0 win over Albion SC White behind two more goals from Lara.
In their third match, 97 Premier defeated Chicago Fire Raiders Elite 4-1 with Lara scoring two more goals and Reece Schattle and Matt Rochowski scoring the other two goals.
They wrapped the perfect week up with a 3-0 win over Classics Eagles behind goals from Schattle, Rochowski and Alan Salazar.
FC Dallas 98 U17 Premier boys to 1-0-3 at National League opening week
FC Dallas 98 Premier openeed the week with a1-1 draw against SC del Sol 98 with Gerber Chavez scoring the goal for FCD. Next up was a 3-3 draw against Fullerton Rangers White behind two goals from Luis ZuaZua and a strike from Matthew Gonzalez.
In their third match, FCD 98 Premier tied Baltimore Celtic behind a strike from Gonzalez.
Finally, the 98s scored their first win of the week on the last day beating the Chicago Magic PSG Preacademy 6-0 with a hat trick from Adan Garcia and goals from Chavez, Gonzalez and Keegan McCombie.
FC Dallas added another piece to the 2015 roster on Thursday, acquiring former San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Atiba Harris in phase two of the 2014 MLS Re-Entry Draft.
Harris will be a very familiar name to long-time FC Dallas fans as he played 41 matches from 2009-2010 for the club, scoring six goals while adding an assist and appearing in three matches on the 2010 MLS Cup run.
Harris, who turns 30 on January 9, scored four goals in 2014 for San Jose to finish second on their goal-scoring charts behind Chris Wondolowski. The veteran midfielder has appeared in 191 MLS games during his nine-year MLS career, scoring 26 goals and 22 assists.
FCD and Harris will have to agree to a contract before he can be officially added to the roster, as players selected in phase two of the Re-Entry Draft have not had their 2015 contract options guaranteed.
None of the three FC Dallas players eligible (Jair Benitez, Adam Moffat and Hendry Thomas) were chosen and will now become free agents.
It's a great feeling to know that @FCDallas have selecting me in the re-entry draft. What a great club. Maybe some unfinished business???
— Atiba Harris (@AtibaHarris) December 18, 2014
Anyone going through draft withdrawls? It's been almost a week since we had one.
Well fear not because at 2:00PM today the MLS Re-Entry Draft phase two takes place and this one has usually seen pretty decent movement.
More than three times as many players have been picked in phase two(43) of the draft historically than phase one(14), because you are allowed to negotiate a contract with the player you picked rather than having to guarantee the 2015 option.
In 2012, FCD acquired defender Stephen Keel through this mechanism, so there is certainly a chance Dallas could add a player at today's draft.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter to get the quickest Re-Entry Draft updates.
Here is the list of available players:
Patrick Ianni (Chicago Fire)
Hunter Jumper (Chicago Fire)
Steven Kinney (Chicago Fire)
Sanna Nyassi (Chicago Fire)
Gonzalo Segares (Chicago Fire)
Bakary Soumare (Chicago Fire)
Carlos Borja (Chivas USA)
Marvin Chavez (Chivas USA)***
Oswaldo Minda (Chivas USA)
Martin Rivero (Chivas USA)
Nathan Sturgis (Chivas USA)
Daniel Paladini (Columbus Crew SC)
David Armstrong (Colorado Rapids)
Edson Buddle (Colorado Rapids)
Kamani Hill (Colorado Rapids)
Dimitry Imbongo (Colorado Rapids)
Brian Mullan (Colorado Rapids) OPTED OUT
Marvell Wynne (Colorado Rapids)
Jair Benitez (FC Dallas)
Adam Moffat (FC Dallas)
Hendry Thomas (FC Dallas)
Nana Attakora (DC United)
Alex Caskey (DC United)
Jeff Parke (DC United)
Conor Shanosky (DC United)
Omar Cummings (Houston Dynamo)
Brian Ownby (Houston Dynamo)
Rafael Garcia (LA Galaxy)
Chandler Hoffman (LA Galaxy)
Brian Perk (LA Galaxy)
James Riley (LA Galaxy)
Mamadou "Futty" Danso (Montreal Impact) ***
Matteo Ferrari (Montreal Impact)
Troy Perkins (Montreal Impact) ***
Andre Akpan (New England Revolution)
Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution)
Stephen McCarthy (New England Revolution) ***
Bobby Convey (New York Red Bulls)
Kosuke Kimura (New York Red Bulls)
Corben Bone (Philadelphia Union)
Fred (Philadelphia Union) ***
Brian Carroll (Philadelphia Union) ***
Kalif Alhassan (Portland Timbers)
Rauwshan McKenzie (Portland Timbers) ***
Danny O'Rourke (Portland Timbers) ***
Rich Balchan (Real Salt Lake)
Aaron Maund (Real Salt Lake) OPTED OUT
Tristan Bowen (Seattle Sounders)
Josh Ford (Seattle Sounders)
Marcus Hahnemann (Seattle Sounders)
Jon Busch (San Jose Earthquakes) ***
Atiba Harris (San Jose Earthquakes) ***
Josh Gardner (Sporting Kansas City)
Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC)
Jeremy Hall (Toronto FC)
Ryan Richter (Toronto FC)
Andrew Wiedeman (Toronto FC)
The USMNT is returning to Toyota Stadium for the first time since March 28, 2007 in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup curtain-raiser and it's both a long overdue return and a well-deserved reward for the Dallas sports fans who have taken soccer support to another level in the last year.
You sold out Toyota Stadium for the largest American crowd to watch the USWNT in 2014, packed downtown Dallas three times for USMNT 2014 World Cup watch parties, set all-time attendance records at Toyota Stadium for FC Dallas games and brought the support for FCD to a new level during our MLS Cup Playoff run and now you have a red, white and blue matchup to look forward to this summer.
While the USMNT has played twice at Toyota Stadium, it is fair to say neither match was the marquee game we will see at Toyota Stadium on July 7th as the national team begins their 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup quest which Jurgen Klinsmann has called "the number one priority for the senior National Team in 2015."
Let's take a look at the two other times the USMNT has played at Toyota Stadium:
February 19, 2006 - USMNT 4, Guatemala 0
The first-ever visit of the national team to a brand new Toyota Stadium(then Pizza Hut Park) was played in absolutely frigid winter conditions as anyone who was at the USWNT game against New Zealand can relate to. It was even colder than that.
A USMNT squad beginning their 2006 World Cup preparation featured a mix of both young and old with Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan making his debut while stalwarts like Brian Ching, Frankie Hejduk and Ben Olsen also suited up for Bruce Arena's team.
A surprisingly robust crowd saw Ben Olsen open the scoring with a beautiful volley with Brian Ching, Eddie Johnson and Chris Klein rounding out the scoring.
(If you can name that full starting XI, you're a true US Soccer old schooler).
March 28, 2007 - USMNT 0, Guatemala 0
Just a year later, Guatemala returned to Toyota Stadium for another friendly against the USMNT, though this one was played on a Wednesday night with what can only be described as a weakened USMNT squad beginning to prepare for the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The weekend matchup saw fan favorite Kenny Cooper and others like Frank Simek and Justin Mapp make some of their only USMNT appearances in the goalless draw.