FRISCO, Texas – It's unsurprising that FC Dallas felt it was the right time to reward Homegrown goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez with a new four-year contract. The 24-year-old enjoyed a standout campaign last year which saw him add consistency and a new dimension to game – becoming one of Dallas' top performers.
“It’s a pleasure,” Gonzalez said upon signing. “It’s an amazing day for me, honestly. Ever since the beginning, the coaching staff and the front office has done a great job of making me comfortable here.”
Signed as FCD’s 10th Homegrown in 2013, Gonzalez has been the full-time starter for three seasons—making 99 MLS appearances to date. Last year, he had career highs in starts (32), saves (85), penalty saves (2) and wins (11). Also, his eight shutouts were just one short of his career-best of nine from 2017.
His most noticeable improvement, however, was his ability to play with the ball at his feet. Tasked with playing out of the back by his head coach, Gonzalez bravely altered his play style and ended the season with the highest passing accuracy of any starting MLS goalkeeper (80%).
“He has courage,” head coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “For me, that is the most important characteristic. In order to play the way that we are developing, you need to have courage. He has that and he's not afraid.”
The 2019 season was a seminal one for Gonzalez. And while there’s still room for improvement, Gonzalez is confident he’s in exactly the right place to do so.
“I want to keep growing as a player and as a human being,” Gonzalez added. “With this coaching staff, I think growing as a player will be much easier. They helped me a lot last year, Luchi and Drew Keeshan especially – he’s been working with me since I started – and I’m very grateful to have those people around me.”
Having signed with FC Dallas as a 17-year-old – and with a newly inked four-year contract in hand – Gonzalez is well on his way to becoming Dallas’ longest-serving Homegrown player. His success is a testament to his own hard work and the club’s steadfast belief in its young players.
“Jesse has definitely been a success story for FC Dallas and for the Homegrown process; and the Dallas community at large,” said FC Dallas’ Director of Soccer Operations Marco Ferruzzi. “The great thing to see over time has been the development and maturation of a young player, a young person. He’s really come into his own recently. He’s always been an extraordinary talent, but when you’re able to watch someone grow into the environment you really get to appreciate their path.”