It’s been quite an offseason for Kellyn Acosta.
In December, the Homegrown was signed to a multi-year extension with FC Dallas. In the first days of 2016, he was received his first call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team for camp in Carson, Calif. And on Sunday, Acosta played a full 90 minutes in his first appearance with the Senior squad.
“It’s a dream come true,” Acosta said by phone from California. “The night before I was pretty anxious and couldn’t really sleep that well, I was just ready to go. I think in the first half my emotions just ran over me. I was nervous, I was excited and I was a little bit tentative because I didn’t want to make any mistakes and tried to keep it as simple as possible. I think as the game went on I thought I did a better job, I was more comfortable and confident.”
His debut was the highlight, to this point, in his taste first USMNT action, but in the third and final week of January camp, the 20 year old is soaking up everything he can from seasoned National Team veterans like Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Jermaine Jones.
“I just try to mimic their game and see what they do off the field - what they eat, how they take care of themselves - I think I’m learning that aspect of the game seeing them do it,” he said. “When it comes down to off-field activities, we’re on our own, but I think everyone knows when we get on the field it’s time for business and everyone wants to work and commit themselves to the game.”
Acosta became the first FC Dallas Academy-product to appear with the Senior U.S. squad, and just the second Homegrown to see time with a Senior National Team. With FC Dallas names - both boys and girls - becoming a staple of U.S. Youth National Teams at all age groups, he knows many are looking to follow his lead.
“It means everything to me. I’m just a kid that grew up in the Dallas area and anything is possible, you can obtain anything. I think I’ve put a lot of hours into this and it’s paid off,” Acosta said. “I hope that paves the way for other players as well. There are a ton of guys on their respective National Teams and I hope they follow in the same footsteps.”
As the January camp winds to an end, the Men will play one final friendly on Friday against Canada. Acosta is hoping to prove in training this week that he deserves another chance to show head coach Jurgen Klinsmann what he’s got.
“I’m excited to just have another opportunity to showcase what I’m all about and I’m fortunate enough that we have another game,” Acosta said. “Ultimately it’s Jurgen’s decision at the end of the day who he wants to play. I just have to put in the work and hopefully I can get the nod for Friday as well.”
And when Acosta as the U.S. take the field, he could be going toe-to-toe with a familiar face on the other side - Canadian forward Tesho Akindele
“It’d be cool going against my teammate from FC Dallas. Everyone back home, I think, will be excited if we go head-to-head,” he said. “It’s going to be a good game nonetheless and hopefully we can go out there and represent ourselves and everyone at FC Dallas.”
After Friday, Acosta’s focus will shift back to his hometown club, joining the team when they return from Arizona next week. He’s hoping that his hard work in Carson will translate to Frisco.
“Hopefully when I get back with the team, I’m one step ahead. I keep pushing myself to be as fit as possible, as strong as possible and when FC Dallas [camp] comes around, I’ll just keep pushing,” Acosta said. “It’ll be good to be with the guys again and start back on our journey of winning an MLS Cup.”