Frisco, Texas- In December and January, MLS teams are retooling and preparing for the season ahead with the last season a closed book. However, for the Academy, the season never truly ends. Despite the cold winds of winter, the FC Dallas U-19 Boys team keeps training with more competition on the horizon.
The Academy reformed their league structure this year. The biggest competition of the year being the D.A. Cup. The U-19 team qualified for the DA Winter Cup by topping their group of seven, beating teams like Atlanta United's Academy and Orlando City. The boys then won their group which contained Nomads, Charlotte Independence, and LA Galaxy. Winning the group sends the team to the second competition of the DA Cup, which will occur in the spring.
The boys also have a variety of upcoming events to compete in through the winter. First on the horizon is a tournament in the Orlando area called the Montverde Academy Soccer Tournament, hosted from January 7th to the 11th. “This is an international tournament,” Academy Administrator Tanner Holley said. “We are playing some great teams like Valencia, and we are hopeful about our chances.” Valencia is not the only international opponent for the U-19 Boys, who will also take on the U-19s Jacuipense from Brazil.
The team will also be taking a preseason trip to Mexico to prepare for the early start to the spring session of the Academy season. “We will be in Guadalajara in January, and we are really excited about that,” Holley said. “We get to play some Liga MX teams which will be great experience for the team, and we also play some college teams. It is going to be a great trip and everyone is excited to follow up the [Montverde Academy Soccer] Tournament with a trip.”
After the tournament in Orlando and the preseason tour, regular league play starts again with no time to break. “The DA league is different for the U-19’s this year,” Holley explained. “We play teams from Minnesota, Utah, and Kansas. We go there, and then they come for a return leg here in Frisco. We take that all on the spring."
Despite all of those travels and competitions, there is one prize that remains central to the U-19 boys: The Dallas Cup. The tournament occurs in April, and 12 teams will compete for top prize. The FC Dallas U-19 Boys team most recently won the tournament in 2017, and that team contained first team players like Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira.
Even though MLS league play does not start until February, the stars of tomorrow are already gearing up for their next test.