FRISCO, Texas - FC Dallas will host its annual Scott Dymond College Showcase this weekend on March 6 and 7 at Toyota Soccer Center and MoneyGram Soccer Park. The tournament showcases both girls and boys from the U-15 to U-19 age groups and gives them an opportunity to play in front of college coaches to assist in the college scouting process.
We caught up with FC Dallas' Vice President of Youth Soccer Chris Hayden to learn more about the tournament and its importance for youth players and college programs alike.
What is the purpose of the Scott Dymond College Showcase?
"Part of how mission for FC Dallas Youth is to help educate and provide opportunities for our college-bound athletes to be on a path. The Showcase provides that exposure because it's an event where we’re bringing in hundreds of college coaches at an important moment for those players to be seen and given an opportunity to go on and play in college. It has helped many players annually from our club to be seen and scouted and received options to go to college due to their participation in this event."
How important is the Showcase?
"I would say it’s continued to grow in notoriety. During non-COVID times we have teams from everywhere. Even this year we have a number of out-of-state teams that are coming so it’s representative of players from all over the country. I think we’re definitely on the map now as one of the major events at an opportune time. So, it’s really helped us and our players who’ve graduated and gone on to school."
What teams and players participate in the Showcase?
"We’ve had groups from Canada, Mexico and Central America. There’s lots of states involved. Obviously, it’s a regional and national event so we have a lot teams from DFW, South Texas and then all of the surrounding states. Anywhere that’s drivable we get a lot of teams from and there’s even some teams that will fly in and participate as well. I was surprised this year with COVID, I figured we’d have a lot more local teams but I think there’s eight or nine states that are represented in this year’s event—which is really remarkable considering the pandemic."
How has the pandemic affected the scouting process and how can the Showcase help?
"The pandemic has really created a problem for college soccer, as it has for sports activities in general. The college season was moved from the Fall to the Spring, so this is typically the offseason and it’s a good time for coaches to come reload their rosters for the upcoming season. Some of those coaches are having to juggle that with playing games during their season and scouting. You can imagine that there’s a number of athletes who’ve lost their Fall season who are wanting to redshirt or play another season in school. So it’s been very difficult for college-bound athletes to find the right fit and for college coaches to find them because there hasn’t been many (scouting) events. This event being at time when Texas is kind of opening up, there’s a number of college coaches who want to come and watch firsthand."
How do college programs scout potential players via the Showcase?
"We do have a streaming plan so a lot of our games will be filmed and those videos can be used to direct market to coaches of colleges of their choice. I would say it’s sort of a combination this year, we’ll have a lot of coaches here in person and a lot our players who are reaching out to colleges via these videos. From a college coach’s standpoint, we have a lot of players participating from different areas because you might be able to create a pipeline of talented player from one place if you find the right team at the right moment."
Which FC Dallas youth teams are participating this year?
"All FC Dallas Youth teams are involved in some capacity. We have some MLS Next games for the boys Academy and some ECNL games for our girls Academy season that are incorporated into this weekend’s event. In addition to that, most high school aged teams are playing. So we have 26 FCD Youth teams playing which is a lot but we have over 250 teams overall playing so we still only represent a small percent of the entire tournament."
What kind of safety precautions are in place?
"We’ve listened to our medical task force and we have a number of COVID protocols. We have some fairly strict guidelines for interactions. We’ve looked at the schedule to allow teams and players to enter the field in a safe manner. Toyota Soccer Center has hosted big tournaments already so this event will follow many of the same protocols. It’s great to have already run some events here so that we can see that our protocols have been working and we can keep the players, coaches and fans safe."