FRISCO, Texas - The first seven games of the season have produced some great stories, but one flying under the radar is the recent appearances of Homegrown signing Kellyn Acosta on the gameday roster.
Acosta, the youngest player on FC Dallas at just 17 years and nine months old, has appeared on the bench in the last three games, and while he hasn’t yet made it on the field, the experience is invaluable for the developing youngster.
“It’s huge, and it starts to cut away at that anxiety when and if he gets into the field of play,” said Reserve team head coach and first team assistant Marco Ferruzzi. “The more times you’re exposed to it, the more it starts to feel familiar and you feel like he’s going to be more comfortable with it to a certain degree.”
Head Coach Schellas Hyndman echoed Ferruzzi’s thoughts on getting Acosta matchday experience.
“It’s wonderful when you can go to your Academy players and get them on the bench,” said Hyndman. “The next step is to get [Kellyn] on the field and I think he has a really good chance to see field play.”
Between the Academy, Reserves and first team, Acosta has had many different roles over the past year, leaving him ready to help FCD in a number of positions. With the Under-18 Academy, Acosta plays as the midfield anchor, spraying the ball around the pitch while getting into the attack – Acosta has seven goals in 10 Academy games this season. However, with the Reserves and in first team training, the Homegrown signing has been dispatched out wide in more of an outside back role bombing up and down the wings with a fixed role that’s more suited for a less experienced professional player.
“I think as a left back, it’s a little bit easier for him to understand his role and it’s a little bit more of a zone he has to play in,” said head coach Schellas Hyndman. “He does a lot of things well and what we want to do is just get him on the field.”
While switching positions might be a hassle for some, Acosta sees it as a positive, giving him a versatility that can be very appealing to a coach and perhaps a reason why he’s on the bench at such a young age.
“Positionally-wise it’s very different,” said Acosta. “[Outside back] is more defensive-minded whereas with the Academy I’m more attacking minded, but it’s good to have versatility on both sides.”
With players like Stephen Keel and Ramon Nunez still a few weeks away from match fitness, Acosta figures to remain an option for Hyndman off the bench at home this weekend against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Whenever he is summoned to make his debut, Acosta will be ready.
“It’s crazy but it’s good experience. Hard work pays off and hopefully sooner or later I’ll make my debut if I just keep working,” said Acosta. “It’s a learning experience. I’m just learning from the game, watching the players in my position and learning what I can do to be there and work on my play a little bit better.”