AnthonyRamirez_MexU16

FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas Academy midfielder Anthony Ramirez was called up to Mexico’s Under-18 national team for the Antalya Cup in Turkey beginning this week. This is the 16-year-old's second U-18 camp after joining the team for its two friendlies in Ireland last September.

“I was very happy and proud of myself for getting this opportunity,” Ramirez told FC Dallas.com after his first U-18 camp. “Not many get this opportunity and I wanted to make the most out of it. It both really good experience where I learned new things. It’s a different style over there. They demand a lot – they demand a lot here too – but it’s different because of the culture and the players you’re surrounded by.”

Although born in Dallas, Ramirez is eligible for El Tri via his parents who are from Guanajuato, Mexico. Ramirez's brothers introduced him to the sport and he joined the FC Dallas youth system just before his 9th birthday thanks to a friend's recommendation.

“[My parents] decided to take a chance for a big opportunity for me to come to this big club which is FC Dallas,” Ramirez said. “It’s been a great help to get me to where I am now. It’s probably the best academy in the United States and a lot of great players have come from here who are now in the first team and some in Europe as well.”

Ramirez – who's previously represented the United States at the U-15 level – is a creative midfielder with the ability to operate on either wing. He's one of four FC Dallas Academy players called up to the FCD first team for preseason (Santiago Ferreira, Slade Starnes and Alejandro Urzua are the others).

“The international call-ups are vital for player development,” said Chris Hayden, VP of FC Dallas Youth. “They also reveal the abilities of players. Sometimes it’s difficult to measure a player until you see them in these higher profile competitions. Players get out of their comfort zones when they’re in these types of events and if they can perform well in those settings, that reveals a lot about their character and projections.”

If Ramirez impresses at the Antalya Cup, he could join some fellow FCD Academy products that won trophies with Mexico at the youth level. FC Dallas’ first Homegrown player, Bryan Leyva, competed with Mexico in the 2009 U-17 FIFA World Cup while former Homegrown and current North Texas SC goalkeeper Richard Sanchez helped Mexico win the U-17 World Cup in 2011.

“International call-ups reveal the belief in our system,” Hayden said. “We’ve got a lot of kids representing the U.S., Mexico and even other countries. I think it gives belief to players that this is a launchpad for opportunity. Knowing that playing in the FC Dallas Academy will give them some exposure to be considered for meaningful competitions. These call-ups help us solidify the belief that young, talented kids – when given the opportunity – can exceed expectations. And you can see it firsthand with our first team.”