FRISCO - When the New York Red Bulls visit Frisco on Friday night, it’ll be a send-off game for one of the rising stars on the FC Dallas roster. As FCD heads out on a franchise-long road swing after Friday’s match, homegrown midfielder Kellyn Acosta will leave the club to represent the U.S. at the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
“I’m really glad I’m getting an opportunity to play at the world’s biggest stage for my age,” Acosta said. “All my hard work has paid off and I just need to go out there and show it on the field.”
The 19-year-old was on the U.S. roster in 2013 for the U-20 World Cup in Turkey, but did not see time in the three Group Stage matches. Two years later however, the former FC Dallas Academy player has taken the next step in his development. Already in 2015, Acosta has started four games, including each of the club’s last three matches.
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“[He’s] important for the team,” FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja said. “He’s proved already that he can not just be on the field, but [can] help us get points. That’s meaningful for the player, and that’s meaningful for the team.”
For Pareja, it’s doubly special – as Acosta’s former academy head coach, Pareja has watched the Plano-native’s development from young academy player to a full-time MLS contributor.
“It is special for us,” Pareja said. “It is very special for us to see [an] academy product step into games and win games and put the team in a good spot in the standings.”
“It’s just amazing for him to represent his country in the World Cup,” said fellow academy-product turned MLS starter Victor Ulloa, who plays side-by-side with Acosta in the first-team midfield. “We came through the academy system, so we’ve known each other for a long time and to play beside each other at this level, I mean, it’s amazing, it’s a dream come true.”
Acosta hopes that this is just the next step in his rising career.
“There [are] a lot of eyes on us and hopefully this will be a stepping stone for me to get to the senior team,” he said. “I’m just trying to go out there and play well.”
Before he leaves, though, the FC Dallas midfielder hopes that he can contribute to another three-point performance against New York as the team vies for the top spot in MLS – a spot they still hope to be in when he returns to the club in a few weeks.
“For the whole group it’s important as the league continues to be tight in the standings and we’re about to have a long stretch on the road,” Pareja said. “The points tomorrow are meaningful and important”
“Hopefully he has a great World Cup,” Ulloa said. “We all know the fundamentals and what to do when we step on the field and when he comes back he’ll be ready just to jump back in it.”