FRISCO, Texas — For the first time in 2019, Victor Ulloa will step foot on the field at Toyota Stadium. This time, as the opposition.
FC Dallas’ second Homegrown signing was traded to FC Cincinnati at the end of the 2018 season — around the time he had his first child. It was a hectic time in Ulloa’s life, and it was the first time he would associate himself with another professional club.
Ulloa was the first FCD Homegrown to surpass the 2,000-minute mark in a single season, and he was a staple in the team’s lineup as the main holding midfielder.
He thrived under Oscar Pareja’s system, and he helped FC Dallas reach the playoffs in three of his eight years at the club where he grew up.
“I’m anxious to get back,” Ulloa said after a FC Cincinnati training this week. “It’s going to be special to go back to the place where I made my whole career. I’m on the other side of things now, and obviously hoping to go down there and get a positive result. It’s going to be weird to be on the other side of things for a change.”
He along with Roland Lamah were the two FCD players to be acquired by MLS’ newest franchise following the 2018 season, and the duo returns to Toyota Stadium for the first time since its departure. The return will hit home just a little bit more for Ulloa, though — literally. He’s expecting his family to be in attendance this weekend as he returns to the club that gave him his first chance at a pro career.
“I obviously have a lot of great memories from my time there growing up through the Academy system and into the first team,” Ulloa said. “I’ll take that with me for the rest of my life, but now I’m part of Cincinnati and I’m hoping to go down there and beat them. It’s for a little bit more than just the result for me, and [there’s] going to be a lot of emotions when I get down there.”
Ulloa said he gives credit to the Academy system at FC Dallas for his rise into the first team in 2014. He was the embodiment of what it took to reach that level and what the Academy could do for talented youth.
Asked if he was proud to come out of FC Dallas’ system and how much it means to him now, Ulloa only had one answer.
“100 percent,” he said. “It’s a system that I came up through, and it gave me the opportunity that I have to today to be a pro for so long and to reach my dreams. So, absolutely. I’ll never forget those moments in that system and what the Academy did for me.”
From his U.S. Open Cup goal against the LA Galaxy in 2016 to his work in the community off the field, Ulloa knew what it meant to represent the city of Dallas — his second home. He knew what it meant to represent the Academy that has seen a lot of success, which began with he and the rest of the first generation of Homegrowns.
“I’m looking forward to be back there, to be in Dallas in front of a lot of friends, a lot of family and ex-teammates. It’s going to be fun.”