FC Dallas Academy players Coy Craft and Aaron Meyer will train with first team in Florida this week

"We want to establish that connection (between our academy and first team) right away"

FRISCO, Texas (Monday, Feb. 17) – FC Dallas Academy standouts Coy Craft and Aaron Meyer are set to join the first team for preseason training in Bradenton, Fla., this week, according to head coach Oscar Pareja. 

“It’s the philosophy of the club to support our young players, especially our academy,” said Pareja. “I think it’s the FC Dallas way that has been in place already, and I want to continue to consistently be strong with it. Taking Coy and Aaron to preseason is valuable, not just for them, but for the entire club. We want to establish that connection (between our youth, academy and first team) right away.”

Craft, a forward, opened 2014 with the U.S. U-18s in a Florida camp as the side prepared for its recent tournament in the Canary Islands. Most recently, Craft was competing with the FC Dallas U-17 side at a Generation adidas tournament in Phoenix, Ariz. Despite being the team’s youngest player, Craft currently leads the FC Dallas U-18s with 10 goals.

READ: Youth movement underway in FCD attack

“Coy has a lot of talent as a forward or a winger,” said Pareja.  “He’s a kid who, size-wise, has a good frame, and I think he can cope with the training. He’s really young, but has a lot of tools. We see him as one of the big projects and one of the great players we have in the club.”

Pareja had high praise for Meyer as well, calling the midfielder extremely talented with a lot of personality and character.

Meyer had a head start on Craft in getting acclimated with the group, having trained with the first team on Saturday and Sunday. The Carrolton native has three goals for the FC Dallas U-18s in 14 games and has spent time with the U.S. U-17 National Team.

FC Dallas will open the 2014 season at Toyota Stadium on March 8 versus Montreal, presented by AdvoCare.