FC Dallas Juniors: Post Season

U-16s to Houston for SUM Cup, U-18s' season ends and graduation ceremony

graduation

Photo Credit: 
Foster Snell

It’s been a busy week for the FC Dallas Juniors.  The FC Dallas U-18s’ season finished
last week with three players from the team receiving Academy honors.  One U-16 player also received Academy
honors this week and the U-16s are just starting competition today in the 2010
U-17 Soccer United Marketing Cup in Houston. 

The U-16s

The SUM Cup is being held in conjunction with the MLS
All-Star game at Houston’s Centennial Park from July 23-29.  Every MLS team will be represented at
the SUM Cup this year for the first time in the tournament’s four-year
history. 

FC Dallas is without five of its normal starters in
Houston.  Jonathan Top, Daniel
Garcia, Richard Sanchez, Boyd Okwuono and Michael Ambrose have been called into
the U.S. Youth National Team Camp. 
Jonathan Top was also honored this week by being named to the USSDA
Starting XI for the U-16 Central Conference. 

FC Dallas was in the final of last year’s SUM Cup, but fell
to D.C. United in a shootout.  The
boys from Dallas start out in Group B this year with Seattle, Columbus and
Philadelphia and are being touted as favorites to win the group.

FC Dallas plays Seattle Friday night, Columbus Saturday
night and Philadelphia Monday night in the group stage. 

The U-18s

The season came to an end for the U-18s last weekend at
Finals Week in Carson, California. 
The FC Dallas U-18s finished ranked sixth out of 77 U.S. Soccer
Development Academy U-18 teams. 

Three FC Dallas U-18 players were honored by the Academy at
the end of the season.  Forward
Ruben Luna and defender Moises Hernandez were named to the U-17/18 Development
Academy Starting XI and captain Victor Ulloa was named to the U-17/18 Central
Conference Starting XI.

“It’s a big, big accomplishment for me,” said Luna of his
Academy honors.  “I always wanted
to be a part of that group since the beginning of the season.  It was one of my goals.”

Graduation

Luna, Hernandez and Ulloa were also part of a larger group
of U-18 players who graduated from the FC Dallas Academy on Tuesday night.  The other Academy graduates were Jaime
Ibarra, Rigel Mathis, Daniel Premenko, Jael Barrera, Jacob Gerondale, Giovany
Gomez, Marlon Duran, Damian Rosales, Chris Figueroa, Cody Adams and Bradlee Baladez. 

The graduation ceremony was attended by FC Dallas technical
director Barry Gorman, head coach Schellas Hyndman and the rest of the coaching
staff, and first team captain Daniel Hernandez. 

“The message to you and to the players is that we are
committed to the Academy,” Gorman said to the parents and players in
attendance.  “We want to see them
play on the first team.  We want to
see them play for coach Hyndman.”

And coach Hyndman had nothing but high praise for the
graduates.

“For the players that will be leaving us, you’ve been
fantastic,” said Hyndman.  “You
have set a high standard for everyone else in here to obtain.  Thank you.”

FC Dallas Juniors coaches Oscar Pareja and Chris Hayden
expressed their gratitude to the commitment of the team ownership and the
players’ parents to the success of the program and the young men. 

“You parents are doing a great job commuting with them,
bringing them to practices,” said Pareja. 
“I’m a parent as well.  I
know it’s difficult sometimes because you have many other things to do, but
still you have that willingness to bring them here.”

“The effort that the Hunt family is doing for this program
is tremendous,” Pareja went on to say. 
“It’s not easy, but they are believers.  Mr. Lamar (Hunt), he believed, he saw it, and it’s happening
now.”

“I couldn’t have imagined that we would’ve come so far in
such a short period of time,” said Hayden.  “It makes me proud to know that I can work alongside people
that care.”

But most importantly, the programs success has paid off for
the players.

“We started two years ago – came out to tryouts and luckily
I got chosen to start,” said midfielder Victor Ulloa.  “What a great opportunity this has been for me!  I’ve grown as a player as well as an
individual.  My dream is to play on
that pitch (at Pizza Hut Park).”

Coach Chris Hayden went on to say what an important role
these graduates have played for the FC Dallas Academy.

“These kids are going to be in photos a hundred years from
now as a part of an organization that – they were the pioneers, they were the
first group,” said Hayden. 
“They’re a part of the history of this club and I’ve been privileged and
very happy to have been a part of it alongside them.”