FRISCO, Texas (August 26, 2021) – FC Dallas Homegrown and striker Ricardo Pepi earns his first call up to the U.S. Men’s National Team to represent the United States in the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
“This country has given my family so many opportunities and it really has helped me achieve my goals,” said Pepi. “I said that when I made this decision it would be with the heart. It’s been made with the heart. If I put that jersey on, I am fighting for it until I can’t fight anymore.”
Pepi will depart following the Austin FC match on Sunday, Aug. 29, along with midfielder Bryan Acosta (Honduras) and winger Szabolcs Schön (Hungary).
Pepi, 18, will take part in his first senior camp after participating in a U-23 camp earlier this season for the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship. He last played for the U.S. U-17 National Team in the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil, where he played in two group stage matches.
The El Paso, Texas native has scored 12 goals and recorded three assists across all competitions for FC Dallas. Pepi became the youngest player in MLS and FC Dallas history at 18 years and 196 days old to score a hat trick when he accomplished the feat in the 4-1 win against the LA Galaxy on July 24, 2021. Pepi participated in his first MLS All-Star Game on Wed., Aug. 25 and scored the game-winning penalty for MLS to beat LIGA MX 3-2 in penalties following a 1-1 draw in regulation. He also participated in the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge a day prior and won the Cross and Volley Challenge for MLS.
He signed with FC Dallas as the 26th Homegrown in club history at 16 years and 163 days old on June 21, 2019. He is the first true pathway player to start his youth soccer career in the FC Dallas-El Paso affiliate before joining the FC Dallas Academy in 2016, signing with FC Dallas’ USL League One affiliate North Texas SC as their first-ever player signing in 2018, and lastly the senior team.
The USMNT opens World Cup qualifying with three matches during the September international window, first traveling to face El Salvador on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 9PM CT (CBS Sports Network, Paramount+, Universo). Next up, USA-Canada, presented by Volkswagen, will kick off at 7PM CT on FS1, UniMás and TUDN from Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The U.S. closes its first set of qualifiers on Sept. 8 at 9PM CT against Honduras in San Pedro Sula (CBS Sports Network, Paramount+, Universo).
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