FRISCO, Texas – With the announcement of Jesús Ferreira’s contract extension, FC Dallas has locked down one of the most promising young players in MLS for another four seasons.
Ferreira – who won’t turn 19 until Christmas Eve – led FC Dallas with eight goals on the season, becoming the youngest player to finish as top-scorer in the club’s 24-year history.
“I’m happy to be able to help the team,” Ferreira said. “It’s something that I always dreamed of, being able to score in front of the fans in the stadium. That’s something that I’m always going to remember. Being able to score and celebrate with the fans, that’s amazing.”
Although still a teenager, Ferreira’s dream of scoring at Toyota Stadium had been a long time coming. His father, David, is a former MLS MVP who led FCD to its only MLS Cup appearance in 2010. Back then, the young Ferreira would hang out at the stadium while his father trained.
FC Dallas’ long-time office manager Susie Goicoechea even tutored Ferreira when his family first moved to Dallas.
“David would bring him (Jesús) to the front desk for about an hour and I’d help him with his homework,” Goicoechea remembered. “It was difficult for him at first because of the language but it is so nice to see him growing up into what he is now. I first saw him when was very young, so I’ve seen him grow through the years and he’s always been so nice.”
Despite his family’s history with the club, Ferreira is keen to write his own chapter in FC Dallas’ history.
“My dad was a big part [of the club] here in Dallas and his name stays here in Dallas,” Ferreira said. “When I first signed, I wanted to make sure that they don’t remember me because of my dad. I want to make sure that they remember me, Jesús.”
In his very first professional game, Ferreira did his best to stick in the memory of the FC Dallas faithful by scoring the final goal in a 6-2 win over Real Salt Lake in June of 2017. At 16 years and 161-days-old, Ferreira was the youngest-ever player to score for FC Dallas.
Although Ferreira would only see three more minutes of MLS action in the season and a half after his eventful debut, the appointment of head coach Luchi Gonzalez – who knew Ferreira well from their time in the FCD Academy – set the stage for Ferreira’s rise to prominence over the 2019 season.
Featuring in all but one of FCD’s MLS games this year, Ferreira was vital to the team’s offensive production; regardless of his position on the field.
“Jesús’ season was positive,” head coach Gonzalez said. “He started off at the #9 (position), and he became kind of a false 9 and then a #10. I think he’s done a good job of solidifying that he can do either and that he can help the team. I think it was a positive next step for him. But we expect more, we expect him to give even better.”
With every position becoming increasingly specialized in the modern game, Ferreira’s ability to influence matches both as a main striker and as an attacking midfielder is surprisingly rare—especially for a Homegrown player.
“If you look around the league, there’s very few Homegrown players playing at the #10 or even in midfield for that matter,” Gonzalez continued. “He (Ferreira) definitely helps our build to create space and be in the windows to receive the ball and break the opposition’s midfield. I think he’s learning to score from that position, and now he’s learning how to set up teammates to play-make a bit more.”
Whether it was as a striker or a midfielder, Ferreira’s presence on the field was vital for Dallas in 2019. With a new contract and an extra season's worth of experience in hand, 2020 promises to be an even better year for the budding star.
“We have to look at the positives and learn from our mistakes,” Ferreira said. “This is the first season where I actually got playing time and I’m showing it. I’m showing that there’s better things to come, but the first impression was a good one.”