FRISCO, Texas – U.S Men’s National Team forwards Paul Arriola and Jesús Ferreira won’t be the only FC Dallas representatives heading to Minnesota for All-Star Week.
FC Dallas Academy player Malachi Molina was also selected for the inaugural MLS NEXT All-Star Game, a match featuring 45 of the country’s top youth talents playing in an East vs. West showdown on Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 11AM CT. The game will be streamed on Twitter and MLSSoccer.com.
Fifteen-year-old Molina played up with FCD’s U-17 Academy team this season, getting starts at both fullback and winger. The Miami, Florida native is the second-youngest player selected for All-Star game.
“A coach texted me (with the news) when I was at my friend's house. I started jumping running around and they were like ‘are you okay?’ And eventually I told them but at first I was just going crazy,” Molina said. “I was ecstatic. I knew about the All-Star game but I didn't even think of the possibilities of being in it. So when I got the text, it was just like, ‘No way’. I read it over and over, and I was like, ‘am I reading this right?’ I’m very excited for it.”
Molina began playing soccer as a 3-year-old in Miami before moving to Texas and joining FCD’s youth club five years ago. He’s been competing in the Academy since the U-12 level.
“I'm a player that likes to dribble a lot,” he said. “Like trying to find ways to use my skills or use my speed as an advantage, even in the back when I'm playing fullback sometimes.
“I like I like being out on the wing. But I also love defense. The feeling when you have a player 1v1 and they try to get by you and take the ball, that feels almost just as good as taking a player on so I really don't mind doing that.”
Molina and the other 44 MLS NEXT All-Stars were selected by the MLS NEXT Player Selection Committee and the Western Conference team will be coached by Minnesota United’s Jeremy Hall and Antonio Medina from the San Francisco Glens.
“I’m looking forward to showcasing what I have,” Molina said. “I believe I’m the second youngest player there. So, playing against players like two years older, if I can keep up with them, and maybe even do better than some of them, I feel like that would mean a lot more.”
The youth All-Stars will also be in attendance for the full MLS All-Star game where FC Dallas’ Jesús Ferreira and Paul Arriola and the rest the league’s top players will take on the Liga MX All-Stars Wednesday night at Allianz Field in Saint Paul: “I'm hoping that's the future for me. So, I’ll be taking notes of players in my position and just enjoying the game really at the same time because that's a big thing. They’re the best players in MLS.”