FRISCO, Texas – Forward Ricardo Pepi was the fourth FC Dallas player to join Season Ticket Members on a Zoom video conference call to reconnect with fans and answer questions.
On the Thursday afternoon call, Pepi revealed how current FCD head coach Luchi Gonzalez scouted him while playing in El Paso with FCD’s youth affiliate as a 12-year-old.
“Back then, he (Luchi) was the coach of the U-16 FCD Academy team so that’s how I met him in El Paso,” Pepi said. “He said he really liked me as a player and saw a future in me. When I first got to Dallas and trained there for the first time, I was a little nervous with everything. But once I started touching the ball and getting used to the players everything got a little easier. It was a really nice environment, very professional and I liked it a lot.”
Pepi officially joined the FCD Academy a year later and moved to Dallas alone to live with a host family.
“It was a little hard at first to be honest. My mom was calling me every day telling me how much they all missed me, so that was kind of hard," he said.
But Pepi’s sacrifice was worth it. In 2018, he became North Texas SC’s (FCD’s USL League One affiliate) first-ever signing. For Pepi, it was a crucial step between the Academy and FC Dallas first team.
“I think that pathway made it easier to be more prepared when I joined FC Dallas,” he said. “But USL and North Texas were great for me. It may me more prepared to join the first team.”
In response to a fan question, Pepi revealed his favorite European club and other teams he enjoys following.
“Real Madrid is my favorite team to be honest. I’ve been following for a long time because of my dad. We’re a Real Madrid family. But if we’re talking about other teams that I like watching, I’d go with Manchester City and Bayern Munich.”
Before the call ended, the 16-year-old striker gave a message to all FC Dallas Season Ticket Members.
“Everyone, please just stay safe,” Pepi said. “We’ll see you guys soon. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Everyone just stay safe and we’ll see each other again soon.”
FC Dallas will continue to host Zoom calls with players and season ticket holders every Thursday afternoon while the MLS season is postponed.