Scott Brown

Academy defender Vernon Bailey headed to Bradenton

FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas Academy defender Vernon Bailey has been selected to take part in Wilmer Cabrera’s U.S. Soccer Under-17 Residency Program for the fall semester of 2011. Bailey left for Bradenton, Fla. last weekend to take part in the national training program that has produced USMNT players Landon Donovan, Freddy Adu and FC Dallas’ own Brek Shea, just to name a few.

Bailey follows in the footsteps of Academy defender Kellyn Acosta and midfielder Fernando Laverde, both of whom graduated from the Residency Program at Bradenton last spring.

“I’m really excited to get the opportunity to play for my country,” Bailey said before leaving Texas to join the program. “I’m both excited and nervous. Going away and playing away from home is a little nerve-racking, but it’s definitely more a feeling of excitement.”

Bailey credits the FC Dallas Youth Development System for helping him earn the opportunity to play at the international level.

“Playing in a professional environment with good coaches like [Academy Director] Oscar Pareja and [First Team Assistant Coach] Marco Feruzzi really taught me a lot,” said Bailey. “Oscar let me know what [the National Team coaches] want and I know I’ll have to work hard and fight for my spot every day.”

Pareja acknowledged that joining the Bradenton program was a big accomplishment for Bailey and FC Dallas as an organization.

“I’m very happy for Vernon, it is a well deserved opportunity,” said Pareja. “Introducing players to National Team programs is one of our top priorities. Congratulations should go out to him, his family and all the coaches who have been involved in his development.”

Bailey also spoke about how excited he was to take part in the same program that has produced so many of his favorite players.

“The biggest ones right now would definitely be Brek Shea and Landon Donovan,” said Bailey. “Those are my two biggest idols right now.”