FRISCO, Texas — It was just over two weeks ago that FC Dallas made it official and signed forward Ruben Luna from their youth system.
On Friday, Luna traveled with FCD to the nation’s capital and was on Schellas Hyndman’s 18-man game roster for Saturday night’s tilt against D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
Even though he didn’t get on the field for his MLS debut, it was still an unforgettable experience for the young talent.
“Making the 18-man roster for the first time after I was available to play, it was awesome,” Luna said on Wednesday. “[It was] a good experience and a great environment to be in. Just being there with the team motivates me even more to get on the field.”
He admits he was very impressed with the atmosphere at RFK created by the passionate backers of the Black and Red.
“The fans were wild. I had never been on a field with that many fans,” Luna said. “I remember stretching behind the goal and the fans screaming at me. That was something. It was incredible.”
Hyndman clearly sees a great deal of potential in his newest striker. Luna joined the team during both of their March preseason trips, scoring five goals. He continued to train with the first team before officially being added to the fold several weeks ago.
“I think he is a very good natural finisher and that’s hard to find. What he needs is more and more games,” the FCD manager said. “It’s hard to go from the academy team into the professional game. I’m hoping we have an opportunity to give him some chances.”
In an ideal situation, Hyndman would be able to get Luna minutes as soon as this Saturday against Chivas USA, but the veteran coach realizes that given how his current group of forwards is playing, that might be tough.
“Right now, we’re also looking at a very good Jeff Cunningham who’s coming back. He’s starting to get his goals and his confidence,” the FCD gaffer said. “Then, we’ve got Milton [Rodriguez] here. Playing in a 4-1-4-1, it’s hard to get another striker on that field. I still think there’s a place for him. If we would have signed him in February, he would be playing by now. Now that he just signed, it’s a little bit more of a delay.”
For the young FCD striker, that means being patient and sticking to a simple yet effective approach that helped land him a pro contract in the first place.
“[I’ll keep] working hard every day in and out of practice. Hopefully the coach has confidence in me soon and I can see the field,” Luna said.
And that process includes learning all he can from fellow strikers Cunningham and Rodriguez.
“I look up to a lot of the older guys for how they manage their bodies and take care of themselves -- players like Jeff and Milton, older guys that can score goals. Since I was little, I looked up to Carlos Ruiz and Jeff Cunningham from the youth program,” Luna said. “Being able to play beside them and with them hopefully on the field would be amazing for me.”
Luna is one of four products from the FC Dallas Academy to sign a professional contract this season. Last September, midfielder Bryan Leyva was the first to sign with the first team. Victor Ulloa and Moises Hernandez signed their contracts at the same time as Luna. Leyva made his MLS debut earlier this season as a second-half substitute, playing the final 13 minutes of a 1-0 loss to the Galaxy on May 20. Ulloa and Hernandez will not be eligible for MLS regular season games until the 2011 campaign.