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.
“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.”