FRISCO - Homegrown defender Kris Reaves didn’t spend long in the FC Dallas Academy, but it quickly became a place he called home.
Originally from the Atlanta area, Reaves came to Frisco in 2012 fresh off a Georgia high school state championship looking to take the next step in his career. In just two years, the 6-foot-2 defender found himself earning Youth National Team call-ups, MLS Reserve League minutes and a scholarship to play collegiately at Wake Forest.
“There was no MLS team in Georgia and when I first saw the stadium, I knew that I was going to [push myself to] get back to Toyota Stadium eventually. Six years later, here I am,” Reaves said by phone from Georgia this week. “Training every day with the amount of quality players and then I got to make the Reserve team [roster], so I got to train with the professional players when they need people. It was just a huge learning experience and I was able to grow so much and so fast within those two years because you're just pushing everyday.”
Reaves went on to earn All-ACC honors his freshman season at Wake Forest as the Demon Deacons made back-to-back tournament appearances before transferring to the University of Portland for his junior and senior years. It was there where he could focus on his one shot at becoming a professional.
“It was a soccer-specific school, there was no football team and you got to kind of work your schedule around teachers and classes, so I was able to train on my own more and improve as a player technically and everywhere I needed improvement,” he said. “You only have such a small window of when you need to break into a professional environment and being a pro soccer player was what I wanted to do, so I had to make sure I was taking care of myself and my development.”
In college, the defender made the move from right back, where he played with the Academy, to center back, where he played most of his college career. While Dallas sees him helping out fellow Homegrown Reggie Cannon on the right side, his versatility to play at any position is a major upside to his resume.
“I think Kris has developed something that we are pursuing at this time - not just our team, but I think in the modern game - in the flexibility that he has in the back,” head coach Oscar Pareja said. “That versatility just highlights amongst many other [characteristics] of the game.”
“He's playing all over the place. We looked at him as a right back even though he didn't play much there in college,” Technical Director Fernando Clavijo said. “We also know that Kris has not played in that position for a long time. We're going to see how he works out [there] in preseason and what position he can help us cover.”
Regardless of where he plays, he’s ready to come in to preseason and get to work making a name for himself at the next level.
“It feels like I'm coming home,” Reaves said. “I'm ready to come in and excited to work and put my head down and know that when my opportunity comes I'm going to be ready to not just fill in, but actually help the team and push everyone from the bottom up. Ready to work and excited.”