FRISCO, Texas – After selecting Nicky Hernandez and Colin Shutler in the first and second rounds of the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, FC Dallas took two FCD Academy graduates and an international player with its three third-round picks.
With its initial third-round selection, FC Dallas took forward Thibaut Jacquel 75th overall out of Campbell University. Born in Saverne, France, Jacquel was part of FC Metz’s academy before coming stateside to continue his development and pursue a degree in communications.
“He’s an interesting player,” said FC Dallas Director of Soccer Operations Marco Ferruzzi. “He’s a goal-scorer and an international student who seemingly adapted well to domestic soccer. We’re going to see how he does, he’s got some nice traits in front of goal. His numbers speak for themselves with what he did at Campbell. He’ll be another exciting prospect in our camp.”
Jacquel boasts an impressive 22 goals and 13 assists in just 36 starts over his two seasons with the Camels. In 2019, he led the country with 18 goals—seven of which were game-winners.
“This kid’s a goal-scorer,” said North Texas SC head coach Eric Quill, who’s heavily involved in FCD’s draft scouting and selection process. “He has a really creative mind and is very composed, which is what you want in professional soccer. He doesn’t get flustered and really has a knack for goal. All of his highlights and games that we watched, we felt like this guy has a demeanor and ability that translates to the highest level.”
Next off the board for Dallas was former FCD Academy and UNC defender Mark Salas. Salas joined the Academy as a 6-year-old and went on to captain its U-16/17 team to the USSDA National Championship in 2015.
“Mark obviously developed here so he understands the type of game that we try to play here at FC Dallas,” Ferruzzi said. “His priority is defending, attacking and breaking up plays. He does that very well, he’s very feisty and aggressive. The four years that he’s been there (UNC), he’s developed. Now it’s time for him to come back home and see what he can do.”
Last but not least, FCD drafted fellow former Academy and UNC product Giovanni Montesdeoca 79th overall. As a forward, Montesdeoca scored 13 goals and added six assists in 22 starts over his collegiate career.
“He also developed here in our Academy so he understands how we play and our culture,” Ferruzzi said. “He went to a good program in a competitive conference. He had some interruptions with injuries but every time he got himself back going again and was productive scoring goals. He’s another aggressive player in the attacking sense. We feel like he’s going to fit in and prove himself well.”
"Gio is a great talent, a very creative No. 9,” Quill added. “He’s a guy that scores a lot of goals and is a really creative thinker. So, he’s another one that fits how we want to play. And obviously with Luchi (Gonzalez) having a lot of background with Gio, he’s another guy that we felt lucky to be able to get at that point.”
Despite the scouting difficulties surrounding the 2021 SuperDraft due to the impact of COVID-19, FC Dallas’ technical staff was more than pleased with the draft’s outcome.
“Honestly, with all of the challenges of not having your typical combine setting, not having your typical draft setting, the work that was put in behind the scenes by all the coaches really made the draft work smoothly at the end of the day,” Ferruzzi said at the SuperDraft’s conclusion. “We feel very, very good about what we did today. Very positive.”