FRISCO, Texas – All good things come to an end eventually; and so it is with Reggie Cannon and FC Dallas, the club where he grew up and went on to make his name on the international stage.
After three-and-a-half seasons, 75 games, three goals and five assists, Cannon is moving on to chase his European dream with Boavista FC in Portugal’s Primeira Liga.
“I’ve always had aspirations to be one of the best fullbacks in the world and I still have that dream,” Cannon said. “I want to play in a World Cup one day, I want to make a name for myself. Dallas has provided me with that springboard and with that opportunity to ultimately go overseas and be challenged. I’m really excited for this opportunity and I thank Luchi, club, the staff, and everyone that’s given me an opportunity to get to the next level.”
The right back’s FC Dallas journey began when he joined the club’s Academy as a 14-year-old, before quickly progressing through the ranks and signing his first pro contract in 2016 after playing one collegiate season with UCLA.
“This club has given me so many amazing memories,” Cannon continued. “Going from the Academy to the first team was really one of the best experiences I ever could have imagined. I’ll always remember Oscar (Pareja) giving me that first chance. I was 15 years old training with the first team, getting my butt kicked by Fabián Castillo and Blas Pérez, it was one of the best experiences and best moments in my life to grow and see what the professional game takes.”
But Cannon’s progress hasn’t always been linear; nor smooth. He played a total of one solitary minute in MLS his first season. The experience was hard on him, but ultimately valuable.
“Reggie suffered in that first season,” said FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez, who also worked with Cannon during their time at the youth level. “He came from being the starter and the man at UCLA and our Academy, so it was a humbling moment but at the same time he learned a lot. He channeled that motivation so he was ready when he got his chance the following season. It’s just another great example of his mentality and commitment, and why he’s ready now for this opportunity overseas.”
Cannon blossomed in his sophomore season, nailing down the starting right back spot and scoring a quite incredible first pro goal. He started all but one game that season and impressed enough to get a call from the U.S. National Team in October of 2018. He’s gone on to play 11 times with the USMNT so far, including starts in the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal and final.
But now the time has come for him to move on and take the next step towards his lofty goals.
“It’s just the right moment,” Luchi said. “Of course, I don’t want to lose him, I want to coach him as long as I can, but he’s ready for the next step. He’s helped us be the club that we are and it’s just the right time.”
“We’re so proud of what Reggie Cannon has accomplished during his FC Dallas career,” said FC Dallas President Dan Hunt. “He’s gone from Academy to starting for the first team and representing his country for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Reggie is the epitome of what we’re trying to accomplish here at FC Dallas.”
While it’s the right time for him and for the club, it won’t make parting any easier. Cannon has always had a special connection with the fanbase, and was awarded their Player of the Year after his breakout season.
“To the FC Dallas fans, you guys have always been there for me,” Cannon said in his final interview with FC Dallas. “I remember my first year of actually playing in 2018, (you) giving me the player of the year award—that was one of those memories that I’ll never ever forget. I busted into tears because I felt I was valued, I felt I was worth something and it was one of the best experiences I’ll always remember. From the fans supporting me to social justice, to off the field things, they’ve always been there no matter what.
“At the end of the day, I just want to make you guys happy. I want to play for you guys. These past three years have been nothing but joy. I really, really appreciate you guys always having my back no matter the situation. I love hearing the chants, I love hearing the crowd noises, I love you guys supporting me, I love everything about it. You guys have always been there for me since Day One.”