FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas won’t exactly have the best memories from the month of July this year, but the club’s most recent Homegrown signing certainly ended last month on a high note.
After signing as FCD’s 11th Homegrown player in mid-June, Danny Garcia got to see his first competitive minutes with the FC Dallas Reserves against USL Pro’s Antigua Barracuda FC last Tuesday. Garcia played the full 90 minutes in the 3-1 victory, the first win of the season for the FC Dallas Reserves.
Four days later, Garcia made his first professional first team appearance as he subbed in for Jair Benitez in the 67th minute of FCD’s international friendly against Stoke City FC. Although FC Dallas lost that match 1-0, Garcia’s creativity and speed on the ball were evident by the amount of attention – and fouls – he garnered from the Stoke City defense, earning a number of dangerous set piece opportunities in the offensive third.
“It feels great coming back, playing with the team, playing with some of my old teammates, it’s really great,” Garcia said of his chance to play against the EPL side. “I’m really happy I got to make my debut against Stoke City.”
And then on Monday morning Garcia put in another full 90 minute shift in Reserve League play as FC Dallas tied Red Bull New York, 1-1. Once again, the young winger drew the attention of the opposing defense, and rightfully so after Garcia scored his first goal as a professional to give FCD the lead in the 69th minute.
“I think Danny Garcia is living up to our expectations of an Academy player,” head coach Schellas Hyndman said after the Reserves’ draw on Monday. “He went to [UNC] Chapel Hill for a year and I think playing there really helped his game on the physical side at the collegiate level. I think it also helped his game to be a two-way player and that’s one of the things we’re always looking for, is for our skillful players to have the work ethic to go along with [the skill].”
Unfortunately for an FC Dallas offense that’s looking to snap out of a recent scoring drought, Garcia’s creative prowess won’t be available at the first team level this season because the newest Homegrown isn’t eligible to make his MLS debut until the 2014 season. Rather than be discouraged by the wait, Garcia knows he has to make every training session count with an eye on next year.
“Some players have to pick it up [in training] and I feel like I’m one of those players that has to pick it up to be ready to play next season,” said Garcia. “I’m going to give it everything I can to be ready.”