2024 Season

Following FC Dallas Alumni Abroad: Recapping the European Season

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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, we're following seven FC Dallas Academy products playing in top leagues abroad: Reggie Cannon, Weston McKennie, Ricardo Pepi, Bryan Reynolds, Chris Richards, Tanner Tessmann and Alex Zendejas. 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 in May: The European Soccer Season Ends

Weston McKennie

The Little Elm-born midfielder had a busy year for both club and country. Returning to Italian side Juventus this past season, McKennie marked 34 Serie A appearances, 29 of which were starts, and seven assists. With his four appearances and three assists in the Coppa Italia, McKennie helped the team secure the trophy this month, playing all but 10 minutes during the tournament. This adds up to a total of 2950 minutes played for Juventus. The American also appeared seven times for the U.S. Men’s National Team, starting in six of those matches. During the international friendlies and the Concacaf Nations League Finals, he played 590 minutes and notched two assists. Coach Gregg Berhalter recently selected McKennie to join the USMNT at their June training camp in Washington D.C., where they will face Colombia and Brazil in early June. As a national team regular, he will surely be a selection on the Copa America roster following the camp.

Alex Zendejas

Alex Zendejas remained a key player at the Concacaf Champions Cup for Club América. In his next game against New England at home, he scored a goal to help his team advance to the semi-finals. In the first leg of the semi-final against Pachuca, he scored the team’s only goal in the 1-1 tie. Unfortunately, Club América was knocked out after a 2-1 loss in the second leg, but Zendejas managed to assist the team’s only goal. Overall, he scored 14 goals and had eight assists this season, with seven of those goal contributions coming in the Champions Cup. With 48 appearances and 3176 minutes played for Club América, Zendejas has played a key role for his club this season and helped América win Liga MX's Clausura championshp on Sunday, May 26 with a 2-1 aggregate win over Cruz Azul.

Ricardo Pepi

After an injury prevented Ricardo Pepi from playing in a few matches, he came on for 67 minutes throughout his last four games with PSV Eindhoven. Across all competitions with the team, Pepi registered 41 appearances, nine goals, three assists, and a total of 760 minutes played and helped PSV win the 2024 Eredivisie title. While representing his country, he played in four friendlies and three Nations League matches, earning one start. During his 305 minutes played, the young American scored three goals. Alongside McKennie, he will compete for a spot on the Copa America roster during the USMNT June training camp.

Chris Richards

After suffering a minor injury in early April and missing three matches, Richards returned a week sooner than previously expected. Richards showed no weakness as he immediately returned to play the full 90 minutes in his last six matches for Crystal Palace. As a center-back in those last six matches, Crystal Palace went undefeated with five wins and one tie to finish 10th in the English Premier League. In their 4-0 win against Manchester United on May 6, he tallied his only season assist. With Crystal Palace, Richards played 2541 minutes during 31 appearances, scored one goal, and had one assist. The American also started six matches, played 482 minutes for his country, and was also one of the 27 players selected to attend the training camp.

Tanner Tessmann

Midfielder Tanner Tessmann has enjoyed a breakout season in Italy's second division with Venezia FC this year. The 22-year-old has played 40 games so far this year and scored seven goals to help his team reach the Serie B playoff final. After finishing in third place with 70 points, Venezia entered the Serie B playoffs hoping to win promotion to Seria A. Tessmann helped Venezia defeat Palermo in the playoff semifinal by scoring a fantastic goal from outside the box to open the scoring in the second leg. Tessmann and Venezia will face Cremonense in the two-leg final on May 30 and June 2 with a spot in Seria A on the line. Once his club season is over, Tessmann will likely compete in this summer's Olympic Games in Paris with the United States U23 team.

Bryan Reynolds

Alongside Tessmann, Bryan Reynolds will represent the U.S. Men’s Olympic Soccer Team. At home with Belgian Pro League side KVC Westerlo, he played in six of their last eight matches during the Jupiler Pro League Europe Play-Offs, totaling 495 minutes. The right-back made 34 appearances for his club this season with four assists during his 2943 minutes of play. The team finished in 11th place, staying clear of relegation with 30 points. Like Tessmann, Reynolds will likely be part of the United States U23 team that will compete in the Paris Olympics this summer.

Reggie Cannon

After being an unused sub for the last half of the season, Cannon finished off strong by earning a start on May 4. He played the whole match against Coventry City with his club, Queens Park Rangers. QPR finished the season with 56 points and in 18th place, clearing relegation by 6 points. Cannon registered 21 appearances and 1435 minutes in the backline in his first season across the pond.

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.