FRISCO - It’s a landmark partnership that could change MLS player development as we know it.
On Tuesday, FC Dallas and FC Bayern Munich announced a first-of-its-kind deal to further develop youth talent in both organizations.
“We are two major professional sports teams in the soccer world and we are working together, I think what has really set this up for success is Bayern is as committed or more committed than they've ever been to develop young players,” FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said of the world-renowned club that has developed the likes of Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger. “They picked FC Dallas because they believe we are [developing talent] better than anybody right now and to provide an opportunity. Conversely, they have the faith in FC Dallas, in the organization and the league. I’m not sure five years ago that probably would not be true but the quality of play in MLS has gotten so good they think it will help develop their young talent.”
So how exactly will it work?
Already the two clubs have had discussions about current players in their respective systems seeing time on loan across the Atlantic - Dallas’ youth potentially in Bayern’s system and Bayern’s youth potentially with FCD.
“You will probably see a couple FC Bayern products on our U-19 Academy team next year and we will see how it goes for them,” Hunt said of the discussions already taking place. “We were trying to negotiate a player to come here, but the window closed too soon to bring over one of their reserve players that had a little bit of first team experience. I would expect in 2019, that you would see a player of that caliber coming to FC Dallas.”
Just before Christmas, Homegrowns Paxton Pomykal, Reggie Cannon and Bryan Reynolds spent 10 days training with the Bayern U-23s at the club’s new $80 million training facility - an opportunity that exists for players across the FC Dallas system. Both clubs believe this immersive experience will help push players to their highest level.
It’s a means for not only developing players, but giving them infinite pathways to their ultimate goal.
“I think we are evolving as a club and seeing how global this game is and how we need to provide a global pathway and by doing that I think this allows us to influence more players and actually have a player be a lifelong member of this club,” Academy Director Luchi Gonzalez said. “I think this really completes our model now, because it allows us to now give kids opportunities in the club and now outside the club.”
“We're giving our top players ages 17- 21 a true pathway to get into the first team at FC Dallas, providing them with the critical games,” Hunt said of the symbiotic relationship. “This is really the critical time in development of younger players. That's when they make the big jump and are ready to be great professionals, but they have to have games and if we put them in an environment like that where they have to always be on their toes it will only be the best for them.”
And the partnership extends beyond the field as well, allowing a collaboration of philosophies based on each’s unique history.
Just two months ago, Gonzalez spent time in Germany learning from his counterparts in the FC Bayern Academy.
“I had a great experience and got to see some training and got to talk with their head of scouting,” the FCD Academy Director said. “I got to learn about their profiles and their training methodology and that was just a very brief visit.
“It’s great to now get more in-depth insight from one of the best clubs in the world to compare to our own and then maybe adjust and evolve our own information especially for what works for Dallas. What works for Bayern is probably not going to work for Dallas and what works for Dallas is not going to work for Bayern, but we can certainly learn from them to improve the FC Dallas way.”