Former FC Dallas’ Juniors players Ruben Luna, Victor Ulloa and Moises Hernandez have all been signed to professional contracts under Major League Soccer’s homegrown player initiative, FC Dallas’ Technical Director Barry Gorman announced Friday.
“Graduating players from our development academy on to the professional team is our ultimate goal within the program,” Gorman said. “That we've been able to do exactly that with four players already is a testament to both the quality of the players in our program and the hard work of our academy coaches.”
The three players will travel to Colorado with the first team this weekend to take part in a reserve game after FC Dallas’ match with the Colorado Rapids Saturday evening.
“Today marks a momentous achievement for our organization,” Vice President of Hunt Sports Group Dan Hunt said. “One of our principle initiatives at FC Dallas is to identify and develop home grown players and to graduate those players from our academy onto our professional roster. To now have four players come through our youth development system symbolizes more than the culmination of their individual hard work and determination. It is a testament to the fulfillment of the goals of this organization, and the success of the development system we are building.”
All three players were recently honored by the U.S. Soccer Development Academy during U-17/18 Finals Week at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Luna and Hernandez earned Development Academy Starting XI honors for the U-17/U18 USSDA. Ulloa landed a spot on the USSDA Central Conference Starting XI.
Playing alongside Hernandez and Ulloa, Luna scored a team high 26 goals in 29 appearances for the U18 FC Dallas Juniors this season. The team won the Central Conference with a record of 11-2-3.
“For our program, the most important thing we can do is provide our players with the opportunities to realize their full potential,” FC Dallas’ Director of Player Development Oscar Pareja said. “Our goal is to give them the support and the tools they need to play the game at the highest level with personality and with passion. To watch these players achieve their goals and take this next step is exactly what we want for them. We are very proud.”
A defender, Hernandez started a team high 30 matches for the Juniors. Coming forward from his defensive position, he also scored two goals. Ulloa started 29 of 31 games in the midfield. He scored two goals during the regular season.
The FCD Juniors captain, Ulloa also scored during the group stage of USSDA Finals Week. His goal came in the team’s second match of the season-ending tournament against the Derby County Wolves – the team that won the U-15/16 Championship in 2009. The match finished 1-1.
Heading into their third game, FCD Juniors were poised to finish first in their group before falling, 3-2 to CASL Chelsea FC Academy on a stoppage-time goal. The loss pushed the team to third place in their group. Luna converted a penalty kick goal in 61st minute of that match. Luna is eligible to play with the first team during the 2010 season, while Ulloa and Hernandez will be eligible for the 2011 season.