FRISCO, Texas – Saturday’s victory over Philadelphia Union not only saw Los Toros start the 2020 season on the right foot, but also the debut of Homegrown midfielder Tanner Tessmann, who’s whirlwind week culminated in a promising performance.
“It was amazing. It’s a dream come true,” Tessmann said. “I’ve been working hard for four years to get this opportunity and it finally came. I think I took advantage of it and our team did great. I have to give them credit because they gave me confidence, they gave me the ball [and] they believed in me.”
For an 18-year-old, who had signed only a couple of days before the Home Opener, Tessmann certainly did not look out of his depths in open play. Rather, he tended to own the pitch. Alongside Jesús Ferreira and Thiago Santos, Tessmann helped keep Philadelphia’s midfield quiet throughout the contest.
“Look at young man Tanner just coming into the picture here in preseason, earning the opportunity tonight and taking advantage of it,” head coach Luchi Gonzalez said in his postgame press conference. “[I’m] really proud of him and I’m proud of the group, because the group embraced him, helped him, supported him and believed in him. They showed it and that’s why they’re there for each other.”
The midfielder even registered his first career MLS assist to help his team seal the all-important three points and polish off the stellar evening. After making a darting run into the box, Tessmann played a clever one-two with Paxton Pomykal, who did the rest to score his first career goal at Toyota Stadium.
“I just made that sprint to get in front of [Pomykal] because I knew he needed support,” Tessmann said. “I just left the ball and he put it in the net. All credit to Pax, he came on and changed the game.”
So, how did he get to this moment?
For Tessmann, who became the club’s 28th Homegrown player to sign, the journey to the first team was a long one. At 14, Tessmann left his native Alabama and joined the FC Dallas Academy. Prior to signing his professional contract, Tessmann was the club’s longest serving member of the residency program.
He scored 25 goals over 67 United States Soccer Developmental Academy appearances and even spent time with North Texas SC last season, making his professional debut against Orlando City B on Apr. 27, 2019. The midfielder would go on to register 16 appearances for North Texas before committing to Clemson University in December.
In 2020, however, it was the preseason that helped change the outlook, as Tessmann was an active presence in the first team’s preparations. Ultimately, the midfielder chose in favor of staying in Dallas.
“I think the preseason definitely helped me for this moment,” Tessmann said. “I played against Inter Miami and I actually played against [Philadelphia Union], so that was great to kind of get the feel of it and this was just another game. The first couple of games on the [Tampa, Florida] trip were nerve-wracking, but they gave me confidence in where I am.”