Paxton Pomykal is a self-proclaimed soccer junkie, and anyone who knows him knows that soccer is always on his mind – and his TV.
“Anything on, I like to watch. No matter the league,” the Academy midfielder said laughing. “Sometimes I’ll spend the night [at a friend’s] and then wake up early to go home and watch [Premier League] soccer and they’re just like ‘Why are you waking up so early?’”
As if two-and-a-half hour training sessions Monday through Friday, regular high school classes, homework, training with the first team usually at least once a week when called upon and Development Academy games on the weekend weren’t enough to fill the 16 year old’s schedule, Pomykal says he makes time to watch at least three full live matches a week, sometimes more.
“So many times we have to ask our players to be a student of the game,” Academy Director and U-16 head coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “A lot of our boys do, but I’m not sure they do as consistently or as passionately as Paxton. This is a kid that’s proactive about those things. You don’t need to tell him because he’s already on it. He knows the schedule and he’s going to watch a game or two every day.”
“Typically I like to study players that play my position because they’re professional and then I get to learn from them.” Pomykal said laughing. “You have to want it. Being a soccer junkie it helps because you watch them on TV and you want to be there, so you strive for the best.”
And right now with no school, USSDA Playoffs beginning Wednesday and Copa America and Euro games on seemingly from sun-up to well passed sun-down throughout June, he’s living, eating and breathing soccer.
For the last two months of Dallas’ USSDA season, Pomykal – who played most of the season with his U-16 age group – has been playing up with the FCD U-18s and will finish the playoff season with the older side. Thanks in part to his IQ of the game, it’s been a seamless transition to competing with and against players a full two years older than him.
“You do need a certain level of athleticism, certain positions you need speed and agility and power, but I think a player in the middle is not a player that needs to be the fastest or biggest or strongest. It has to be the smartest players and I think that’s what he has going for him and that’s why he’s able to adapt pretty well with the group,” Gonzalez said. “He’s really responded. He’s not just a player playing up with the 18s to help them out. He’s a player that’s ready to be an impact.”
Gonzalez added that hopefully a long ways down the road – when his playing career is done – Pomykal’s knowledge of the game could find the midfielder in his very role.
“[One day] he might be a coach himself because he can break down the game pretty well. He has a good tone, good communication, he can be directive when he needs to, he can listen when he needs to – you can see a future coach there and that’s why he makes others better around him [even now] because of that extra that he has.”
Pomkyal and the U-18s open USSDA Playoff action on Wednesday, June 22nd at 7:30PM vs Shattuck St. Mary's on Toyota Soccer Center Field 2. Admission is free and all FC Dallas fans are invited to cheer on the Academy in search of back-to-back national championships.