FRISCO, Texas - Goalkeeper Carlos Avilez became the second player to complete the full FC Dallas youth development pathway when the club signed him as its league-leading 29th Homegrown player last week.
In June of 2019, fellow Homegrown Ricardo Pepi became the first player to progress all the way from the FC Dallas Academy to North Texas SC (FCD's USL League One affiliate) and finally to the FC Dallas first team. Now, Avilez is following in the young forward's footsteps.
"I feel happy, I feel proud," Avilez said after signing. "My family is completely proud of me and of all the effort that I’ve given. I’ve been here since I was 12 years old, and thanks to God the opportunity came and now it’s up to me to take advantage of it and to keep looking forward."
Avilez has also made a bit of history himself. Three years ago, he became the first FCD Academy player to sign a USL contract while on loan to Oklahoma City Energy FC. However, Avilez didn't make a single appearance during his seven-month stay with the USL Championship side and had to look elsewhere for the experience he needed. Thankfully, in December of 2018, FC Dallas announced the formation of its own development team: North Texas SC, which was slated to compete in USL League One, the new third division in the American soccer pyramid.
A little over a month after its formation, Avilez signed with North Texas as a 20-year-old. He started 20 League One games, made 46 saves and registered the second-most clean sheets in the league with nine. His first full year as a pro culminated with an inaugural USL League One title as North Texas defeated the Greenville Triumph in front of a home crowd at Toyota Stadium; the perfect cherry on top of a successful debut season.
While his time with North Texas couldn't have gone much better, the FCD first team was always the goal. Now armed with an MLS Homegrown contract, this is Avilez's chance to impress head coach Luchi Gonzalez ahead of the MLS is Back tournament in Orlando.
"I’ve known Carlos and his family since I’ve been at the club," Luchi said." He’s always been a winner in his heart and his head. He’s respected his role, whether starting or not starting. He’s supportive of the guys around and a great teammate.
"Carlos is a son of the club. He’s had a great career in the youth (club) and the Academy, he’s taking steps and we’re in a moment of need in that position for the (Orlando) event. Carlos is ready to step it up for us and I’m really proud of him to help support the team and compete in that position so that we can do our best in Orlando."
Avilez is competing with Jimmy Maurer and Kyle Zobeck in the goalkeeping pecking order for next month's tournament. While it's unlikely he'll displace his more experienced colleagues, Avilez will at least push the eventual starter to be
at his best when FC Dallas kicks off against the
Vancouver Whitecaps on July 9.
"We feel prepared to go to Orlando and give everything we have to win [the Tournament] because a trophy is a trophy," said Avilez. "This club, this family, will always fight for the trophy no matter what and will leave everything on the field to bring the trophy home to Dallas."