FRISCO - The next player to continue the Academy pipeline at FC Dallas was added on Friday as the team announced the signing of 17-year-old attacker Coy Craft as the 12th Homegrown signing in team history.
Craft, a dynamic winger who joined the first team for a week of training in Florida during the 2014 preseason, has excelled for the FCD Academy ever since moving to Frisco in the summer of 2011 and scored 13 times for the U-18 team that finished fourth nationally in the 2013-2014 season despite being the youngest full-time player on the team. Given that and his status as a US youth national team regular, the winger had plenty of options but chose to stay right here with FC Dallas.
"It’s a player who is explosive and very direct in attack," said head coach Oscar Pareja. "His intensity is always there and I think he has a very high ceiling in terms of improving his technique, his finishing and his decision-making, but what I get from this kid is always energy and willingness to keep growing. For me that’s a big enough basket to keep planting and training him, so we can have a player in the future who can be a starter in this club."
Craft joins an FC Dallas attack already stacked with amazing young talent like Andres Escobar, Fabian Castillo, Mauro Diaz, Tesho Akindle and Danny Garcia, players all aged 23 or under.
"It’s amazing because they’re so talented and it’s so fun to watch what they can do and eventually I want to play my game at the same level," said Craft. "I know there will be a transition for me to get used to the speed of play and aggressiveness, but I know I can get there."
For Craft, a player who moved to FC Dallas from affiliate club FC Dallas TRI back in 2011, the opportunity to once again play for Pareja was one of the biggest draws to take his first professional step with FC Dallas.
"Oscar is the one who brought me here, so it’s awesome to be back with him. It was a big transition the first year not having my parents here, but I was young and the past few years making it to the [Development Academy] Final Four [in 2014] was awesome and it’s all been a good experience," said Craft. "It’s awesome because you know that if you do everything you can, obviously I have to perform, but he will give me the chance to show myself at the point whenever I’m ready."
The new youngest player on the roster, Craft is eligble for play immediately and fills one of the three open roster spots provided by the recent placement of Hendry Thomas and George John on the Injured Reserve list plus the trade of Andrew Jacobson. While Craft is not expected to play first team minutes right off the bat, he could make his debut on August 24 as the FCD Reserves face the USL PRO's Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
"I think the Academy coaches have done a great job to develop these players and continue with the project to have our own pros here at home," said Pareja. "We’re very proud to present a player who is national team caliber and is committed with this club. From now on, he needs to keep progressing every day and show everyone that our Academy is doing a good job. He has a big responsibility, but we trust him."