FRISCO -- The FC Dallas Academy has produced a league-leading seven Homegrown players, championed U.S. Soccer’s Under-18 Development Academy and helped goalkeeper Richard Sanchez become the first American-born player to hoist a U-17 FIFA World Cup trophy.
But what is that worth to the rest of the 849 young men and women ages 15 -18 currently playing under the FC Dallas banner?
“We understand most of the players in our system are not going to become Homegrown players for the FC Dallas first team,” said Vice President of FC Dallas Youth, Chris Hayden. “Most of them are going to take the college route. It is important for us to supply them with the proper encouragement and exposure relative to their ability.”
Per that vision, FC Dallas hired Scott Dymond as the Youth College Director in June of 2010. Since then, Dymond has spearheaded an FC Dallas coaching staff that has placed 141 players in colleges across the U.S.
An obvious first step in that process is showcasing FC Dallas’ top players in front of college coaches via the FC Dallas College Showcase. Created by Dymond in 2011, the FC Dallas College Showcase drew 178 representatives from 130 colleges in 2012. Scheduled to run March 8 through March 10, 2013 at FC Dallas Stadium, the third installment of the FC Dallas College Showcase is on pace to exceed those numbers.
And just as FC Dallas Youth is not entirely focused on producing players for Major League Soccer, the club is not set on producing players just for top NCAA Division I programs. Of the 130 colleges that attended the 2012 FC Dallas College Showcase, 72 represented NCAA Division II, III or NAIA institutions.
“Not every player in our system is going to go play at UNC or Maryland,” said Hayden. “We use our experience to place players where we feel they will be successful. It is important for us to give those players the information they need to get into the college of their choosing.”
The FCDY College Director also meets with FC Dallas’ players and coaches throughout the year to determine the best path each player can take scholastically in order to reach their goals.
“Players under our umbrella definitely gain an academic edge on the competition,” said Dymond. “We have created a lot of trust amongst college coaches. We have a lot of familiarity in dealing with the NCAA standards and our unique partnership with the Frisco Independent School District allows us to put players on a better path academically.”