FRISCO - The Dallas kid is getting the opportunity of a lifetime with his hometown club.
On Thursday, FC Dallas announced the signing of Homegrown defender Jordan Cano, a college senior born and raised in Dallas who played four seasons for the FCD Academy, went to school down the road at SMU and is now looking to earn his spot on the first team.
“It's so very exciting,” the defender told FCDallas.com. “I was 15 when I first came to this club and just saw how professional it was and just growing up throughout the youth system and just meeting some of the really good people and being close to home, close to my family, I played here for four years, gave it everything I had and just being able to go to the next level with this club means everything.”
Signing his first pro contract is just the first step for Cano, however.
The 21-year-old will now look to prove he belongs in Frisco with a full spot on the 2018 roster not fully guaranteed. It’s an opportunity Cano says it's something he’s excited and motivated to get to work on.
“He has a legitimate opportunity right now to make this team and to play and we want to give [those opportunities] to our kids, the kids that were here in the Academy,” Technical Director Fernando Clavijo said of the Homegrown’s chance. “It was an easy [decision] for us to make. Now, he needs to stick…I think Oscar will give him the biggest chance to play professionally that probably he's going to have.”
“I don't think it's new for him to come and fight for his spot,” head coach Oscar Pareja said. “For me, the decision they [as a family] have made in accepting that opportunity to come and fight for that spot in January and February, I think it says a lot about the commitment that he has with the club. That’s beautiful.”
It’s a unique chance for Cano to impress a pair of men he knows very well. When Cano joined the club back in 2011, Pareja was still the Academy Director and current assistant coach Josema Bazan was his coach for seven years, dating back to before his time with FCD.
In fact, Pareja’s hometown is the same town where Cano’s father grew up, although the two never met until their paths crossed in Dallas.
“It's just awesome that I've known him for a very long time and my family has known him,” Cano said of Pareja. “He's a great guy and a great coach - everyone knows how amazing of a coach he is. I think he's going to really help me to develop and to become the best player that I can be.”
“When we saw his games, I could see him growing and I think he can match the intensity, the intelligence and also the physicality of the game,” Pareja said. “Now, we have to see him in the camp. We have to see how he adjusts to it, but I think he has the intelligence and the personality to do it. I'm very optimistic for this to be a success.”