2024 Season

Following FC Dallas Alumni Abroad: New year, new goals

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FC Dallas and its Academy have produced some of the U.S.’s top players in recent years, many of whom have left the comforts of home to ply their trade in other soccer leagues. Although they’re no longer with FC Dallas, they’ll always be a part of its history. So, why not check in to see how they’re doing? This is Following FC Dallas Alumni Abroad, presented by MoneyGram.

As of now, there are eight FC Dallas Academy products playing in top leagues abroad: Reggie Cannon, Weston McKennie, Ricardo Pepi, Bryan Reynolds, Chris Richards, Tanner Tessmann, Alex Zendejas and Justin Che. Each month, we’ll check in to see how they’re faring with their new clubs.

Note, you can read about all these players’ FC Dallas careers at the bottom of this article.

FC Dallas Alumni Abroad: January through March Update

Weston McKennie

Little Elm, Texas native Weston McKennie is enjoying his best season with Italian giants Juventus. The midfielder has played 27 games across all competitions and contributed nine assists – two of which came in the club’s recent 2-2 draw with Atalanta. Since the new year, McKennie has recorded the second-most assists (7) in Europe's top five leagues, trailing only Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne who has 11 (per Opta Stats).

Alex Zendejas

Alex Zendejas is in his third year with Mexican giants Club América. The winger has 24 goals and 10 assists from 90 appearances overall with Las Águilas since joining from Necaxa. Zendejas registered an excellent cameo appearance on March 3 where he scored two goals in just 19 minutes as a substitute in América’s 5-1 demolition of Atlas. He was also on the score sheet this weekend against Tigres UANL, scoring in the 69th minute in Ámerica's 2-0 win on March 9.

Ricardo Pepi

Ricardo Pepi is in his first season with Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, having previously played for FC Groningen and FC Augsburg since leaving Dallas. So far, the 21-year-old has eight goals and two assists in 32 two appearances, many of which have been off the bench. Recently, Pepi scored the seventh and final goal in PSV’s 7-1 demolition of PEC Zwolle. The highlight of the El Paso native’s season was undoubtedly his last-minute game-winning goal against Sevilla FC in the Champions League last November.

Chris Richards

Chris Richards was also on the score sheet recently. The defender registered his first-ever goal for Premier League side Crystal Palace in its 3-0 win over Burnley. Richards, an Alabama native, has started Palace’s last 14 games (23 in total) in a row, playing defensive midfield as well as his natural center back position.

Bryan Reynolds

Fort Worth native Bryan Reynolds is flourishing in his second season with KVC Westerlo in the Belgian Pro League. Still only 22, Reynolds has started 26 of Westerlo’s 28 league games and contributed four assists from his right back position. A U.S. international, Reynolds will hope to be included in the Concacaf Nations League roster next month with typical right back starter Sergiño Dest is suspended for the semifinal on March 21.

Reggie Cannon

Defender Reggie Cannon is halfway through his first season with Queens Park Rangers in England’s second division after spending three years in Portugal with Boavista. So far, Cannon has played 19 times for QPR who are fighting to avoid relegation. The 25-year-old right back was an unused substitute in the club’s last outing, a 2-0 loss to Middlesbrough. Still, Cannon started and played 90 minutes three times in February.

Tanner Tessmann

Tanner “The Tank” Tessmann is having an excellent season in the Italian second division with Venezia. The midfielder has contributed four goals and three assists to help Venice reach fourth place with a game in hand. Having played 26 games, Venezia and Tessmann are firmly in the promotion race back to Seria A. Last time out, Tessmann played 90 minutes as the defensive midfielder in the club’s 3-1 win over Bari.

Justin Che

Twenty-year-old Justin Che has played 19 games in the Dutch second division this season with ADO Den Haag. A Richardson, Texas native, Che is on loan to Den Haag from parent club Brøndby of the Danish first division. Playing mainly as a right back, Che has started roughly half of Den Haag’s games as they currently sit in third place, just three points behind an automatic promotion spot. Most recently, Che started and played 90 minutes in the club's 2-2 draw with Roda JC.

FC Dallas Roots

You’ve read about how these players are doing now. Here’s how they got their starts with FC Dallas.

Reggie Cannon joined the FC Dallas Academy in 2015 and won back-to-back U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championships before heading off to UCLA. After one collegiate semester, Cannon signed with FC Dallas as the club’s 18th Homegrown player. He played four seasons in Dallas, making 67 appearances and scoring two goals before joining Boavista in Portugal’s top division in 2020. Three seasons later, Cannon joined Queens Park Rangers in the EFL Championship. Cannon has played 28 times for the United States and scored one goal.

Justin Che joined FC Dallas’ youth system as 6-year-old in 2009. At 16, he began playing for North Texas SC and was included in USL League One’s All-League First Team in his debut season in 2020. The Richardson, Texas native signed a Homegrown contract with FC Dallas shortly after and played 15 games before going to Germany on loan, initially with Bayern Munich II and subsequently with TSG Hoffenheim. After two years in Germany, Che transferred to Danish club Brøndby and was sent on loan to ADO den Haag where he currently plays. Although Che hasn’t been capped by the USMNT, he’s been called up to multiple senior camps.

Weston McKennie is probably FC Dallas’ most well-known export, despite never playing for its first team. Although born in Washington state, McKennie grew up in Little Elm, Texas and developed in the FCD Academy from 2009 to 2016. After turning 18, McKennie signed for German club Schalke 04 where he’d go on to play four seasons before joining 36-time Italian champions Juventus in 2020. Apart from a half-season loan to Leeds United in the Premier League, McKennie has been with Juve for four seasons, winning the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana. The 25-year-old has been a mainstay for the U.S. Men’s National Team since 2017, earning 49 caps and scoring 11 goals.

Ricardo Pepi joined the FC Dallas Academy in 2016 from its El Paso affiliate club in his hometown. He signed his first pro contract with FCD’s second team, North Texas SC, in late 2018 as its first-ever player. Pepi famously scored a hat trick on his pro debut and went on to sign a Homegrown contract with FCD midway through 2019. Pepi enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2021, becoming an MLS All-Star and winning MLS Young Player of the Year after a 12-goal campaign. He subsequently signed for German club FC Augsburg in FCD’s record outgoing transfer. After one season in Germany, Pepi went on loan to Dutch side FC Groningen where he scored 12 goals and earned a permanent transfer to PSV Eindhoven, one of the Netherland’s biggest clubs. Pepi debuted for the USMNT in 2021 and has 10 international goals in 22 appearances.

Chris Richards never played for FC Dallas’ first team, similar to McKennie (although Richards did sign a contract with FCD). An Alabama native, Richards joined the FCD Academy from Texans SC Houston in 2017 and signed a Homegrown contract in 2018. He was then loaned from FCD to FC Bayern Munich as part of the clubs’ now-defunct player development partnership, before joining the German giants permanently a year later. Richards played five games in the Bundesliga for Bayern before joining 1899 Hoffenheim on loan for two consecutive seasons. In 2022, Richards departed Bayern for the Premier League with Crystal Palace. Richards has played 14 times for the United States and scored one goal.

Bryan Reynolds joined the FCD youth system as a 12-year-old and signed a Homegrown contract in late 2016, becoming the club’s youngest-ever player at 15 years and 147 days old. In 2019, Reynolds helped North Texas SC win the inaugural USL League Title alongside a handful of FCD Academy products. Reynolds enjoyed a breakout 2020 campaign with FC Dallas, which earned him a transfer to Italian club AS Roma the following year. Seeking more game time, Reynolds went on loan to the Belgian Pro League, first with K.V. Kortrijk and then to KVC Westerlo – where he signed permanently in 2023. Reynolds has played seven times for the United States and scored one goal.

Tanner Tessmann moved from Alabama to join the FC Dallas Academy in 2016 at 15 years old. At 17, Tessmann helped reserve side North Texas SC win the 2019 USL League One title. Although originally committing to play soccer at Clemson, Tessmann decided to go pro at 18 and signed a Homegrown contract in 2020. After one-and-a-half seasons with Dallas, Tessmann secured a transfer to Italy with Venezia – then in Serie A. Tessmann has featured for the United States on two occasions.

Alex Zendejas signed a Homegrown contract with FC Dallas after joining its Academy via its El Paso affiliate club, a path Ricardo Pepi would follow a few years later. Zendejas signed as the club’s 13th Homegrown in 2012 and went on to make eight appearances. He subsequently joined Mexico’s Chivas Guadalajara permanently before being sent on loan to Zacatepec. In 2020, Zendejas transferred to Necaxa where he enjoyed two successful years before being recruited by Club América, one of the continent’s biggest clubs. A dual national, Zendejas originally represented Mexico internationally before filing a one-time switch to play for the United States. The 26-year-old has seven caps and scored one goal.