FCD leads way with new Development Academy academic curriculum

FISD program allows for additional training during school day

FCD curriculum

Photo Credit: 
Foster Snell

FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas and the Frisco Independent School
District have recently developed a new initiative that will make it easier for
FC Dallas Development Academy players to meet their educational needs while
optimizing player development with increased opportunities for training.

The new academic curriculum allows participants to train at
Pizza Hut Park in the mornings, attend classes in the late mornings and into
the afternoon at FISD, and train again in the evenings.  Hunt Sports Group Vice President Dan
Hunt said the curriculum is modeled after the educational opportunities
provided by some of the best youth development programs from around the
world. 

“We’re in one of the great school districts in the state of
Texas, with Dr. Reedy (FISD Superintendent) and some very progressive thinkers
there leading the way,” said Hunt. 
“As we move forward in developing our youth system here at FC Dallas,
why not extend the same opportunity available in other parts of the world?”

The aim of the new venture is to give the FCD Youth program
an increased competitive advantage when it comes to tapping the talent-rich
market in Dallas and beyond – a market that has already seen the progression of
Bryan Leyva, Ruben Luna, Victor Ulloa and Moises Hernandez from the Development
Academy to the FC Dallas first team.

WATCH: FCD Development Academy opens 2010-2011 season

“We recognize that if we don’t take the steps, players will
leave and go play in other countries, which we’ve seen historically,” said
Hunt.  “So we’ve been highly
focused on capturing the talent here in the Metroplex and in the state of Texas
and getting them to come play here in Dallas for FC Dallas.”

There are currently two FCD Development Academy players
participating in the program, and FCD Youth College Director Scott Dymond said
he expects the number of participants will grow with each coming semester.

“By next semester (spring 2011), we anticipate this number to
grow to between six and 12 students enrolled in the program,” Dymond said.  “By Fall 2011 we hope that at least half
of our Development Academy players will participate in this unique opportunity.”

FISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mike Waldrip said the
program also offers after-school options in the form of online courses.

“It makes it a little easier for the young men in this
program to actually meet their educational needs if the school district can
work with them around their workout schedule,” said Waldrip.

The FC Dallas Youth Program is the first in MLS to establish
such a program for its players. 
But Hunt said he doesn’t think it will take long for other programs in
the league to follow suit.

“I suspect our partners in MLS will go this way,” said
Hunt.  “I just think the youth
system here (at FC Dallas) is ahead of a lot of places.”

In fact, Hunt said the plan is to stay ahead of the
competition by eventually establishing a full residency program for FC Dallas’
youth players.

“The residency is not going to happen today or tomorrow, but
that is our eventual goal,” Hunt said. “With this new FISD opportunity, we’re
taking steps in the right direction.”