With school back in session, the traditional summer camps have departed the numerous fields outside FC Dallas Stadium and the morning sounds of FC Dallas Academy training have once again taken over.
Head coaches Luchi Gonzalez(U-18), Josema Bazan(U-16) and Francisco Molina(U-14) have opened their pre-season camps this week in preparation for the 2013-2014 campaigns, but six of the players are enjoying a head start.
Wilfred Williams, Alex Radilla, Jordan Cano and Coy Craft from the under-18 squad and Martin Salas and Christian Ramirez from the under-16 squad recently returned from a five-day Under-18 Men's National Team combine at the Nike headquarters in Oregon.
"They’re very valuable," said Luchi Gonzalez. "I spoke to all the boys and it was a good experience for them. The level of competition was with some of the better players in the country. They also did some fitness, so it was a win win for us."
The six players selected from FC Dallas were the most of any team in the country and coach Gonzalez said there could have even been more worthy of selection. For the FCD players at the combine, the comfort of having familiar players around them certainly helped.
"It’s awesome because you had players from your team and they had players from their same club but not from their same team," said Craft. "So it was great for us."
For Martin Salas, a player who spent his first year with the U-16s last year and will be one of the leaders of the squad this year, he had to watch from the sidelines with a minor injury, but the experience was still beneficial.
"I was hurt, but watching from the side it was pretty intense," said Salas. "It was just seeing the guys play and it keeps me going because I don’t want to sit out any camps."
With both an under-18 and under-16 squad loaded with players competing for national team spots, don't be surprised to hear of more callups for FCD players in the near future as we head into the US Soccer Development Academy season starting in mid-September.