In the life of an FC Dallas Homegrown player, there are milestones you never forget. Maybe it’s your first Dallas Cup win or a US Soccer Development Academy Championship. There’s the first time you’re called up to train with the first team.
For the trio of FCD Homegrowns signed in the last six months, this February saw them experience another major milestone: the first preseason trip as a professional.
Teenage Homegrowns Reggie Cannon, Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira have all played hundreds of first team minutes over the last 10 days as FCD embarked on an unforgettable week of matches at some of Argentina’s most hallowed soccer grounds.
“I really think it was a good decision[to go to Argentina]. Everyone is really benefitting from these games, getting game fit and experience,” said Reggie Cannon. “All of us young guys are getting minutes with the first team squad, so it’s been a really good trip overall."
Playing in nearly every match, all three players have not simply made up the numbers in preseason. All three have made it on the scoresheet through goals or assists proving to the staff that despite their young ages, they’re all ready to be called on when the games truly matter playing against hardened veterans many years their senior(Jesus Ferreira did WHAT?!).
“I understand that I’m young, but I’m still able to compete with these guys,” said Cannon. “That the mentality you have to have to play at this age in a league like this. It’s very challenging but it’s great experience.”
“It’s obviously difficult. We’re playing top division teams down here and they’re all competing and trying to win too,” said Pomykal. “The competition itself is unbelievable, so even getting 15 or 20 minutes on the field is an experience of its own.”
Bringing up a new crop of Homegrown players all at the same time as FC Dallas has done with this trio, the advantages on the field can certainly be seen. The three seem to have an almost subliminal understanding of where each other is at the same time harkening back to their days with the Academy. Perhaps no play better demonstrated this than Tesho’s sweet strike against Racing Club built by Cannon and Pomykal.
“Knowing the bonds we’ve had through the Academy, I have a really good feeling for what he might do over some of the first teamers, so we certainly have a little bit more chemistry,” said Cannon.
And if you thought there would be any fear or trepidation trying to integrate yourself into the team as a teenage rookie, think again. These guys speak like seasoned pros understanding the task ahead of them and remaining ready for the inevitable ups and downs of a freshman campaign.
“Obviously you have to suffer sometimes. We’re on a journey to win an MLS cup. That’s our goal, and you’re obviously going to have ups and downs. You’re going to suffer, but it’s how you deal with the suffering that ultimately determines how you are as a player," said Pomykal. "The first day I felt like was really hard. We ran a lot, suffered a little bit and didn’t play too well. We got together, learned from our mistakes, and got the victory against River Plate Reserves which was a great result. We’ve tied some other first division teams and the biggest thing is we’re competing. That’s the ultimate goal is to compete, compete, compete.”
With that attitude, plenty more milestones won’t be far off.