FRISCO, Texas – Four FC Dallas Homegrowns were included in MLS’s 22 Under 22 list, an annual ranking of the league’s best players under the age of 22. Ricardo Pepi (#1), Jesús Ferreira (#9), Paxton Pomykal (#13) and Justin Che (#16) all earned a spot on the list, meaning FC Dallas is the best represented team in the 22 Under 22 rankings for the third year in a row.
#1 | Ricardo Pepi
No surprise here. Ricardo Pepi is the obvious top choice after netting 13 goals and adding two assists in 22 MLS starts this year. The 18-year-old is the highest-scoring American in the league and has cemented his place in the USMNT along the way. The timing of his international breakthrough certainly helps as the Texan has recently caught the collective imagination of American soccer with three goals and two assists from his three national team caps. But even if you ignore his international exploits, Pepi deserves the #1 spot for his consistent goal-scoring at the club level.
#9 | Jesús Ferreira
Jesús Ferreira is enjoying a stellar bounce back year after having a sophomore slump in terms of goals and assists in 2020. The versatile attacker has really found a home as FCD’s central attacking midfielder, contributing six goals and six assists in 22 games. With five games remaining, Ferreira has a good chance of topping his career-high of eight goals that he achieved in his breakout season in 2019.
13 | Paxton Pomykal
Paxton Pomykal earns a spot in the rankings for the third consecutive season, landing at #13 in this year’s edition. The 21-year-old was able to overcome and injury-plagued 2020 and featured in all but three games this year. Pomykal has featured predominately at left wing and scored one goal and added an assist over the campaign.
16 | Justin Che
Seventeen-year-old defender Justin Che makes the 22 Under 22 list for the first time after starting 11 games for FC Dallas since returning from his loan to Bayern Munich II. It’s not the first time the Dallas native has been recognized for his prodigious talent. Che was the youngest player named to the USL League One Best XI after starring for North Texas SC in 2020. Whether it’s at right back or center back, Che certainly has a bright future ahead of him.