FRISCO, Texas – After a whirlwind rookie season, FC Dallas midfielder Tanner Tessmann has begun 2021 with yet another first. The 19-year-old earned his first call-up to the senior U.S. Men’s National Team, along with fellow Homegrown Jesús Ferreira.
“It was just crazy. It’s a dream come true for me,” Tessmann told FCDallas.com. “I grew up watching the National Team in World Cups and the Gold Cup. You always see the guys out here working hard and to finally be a part of that group is pretty special. It’s definitely something I don’t take lightly. It’s a big deal but I’m just ready to work. I’m really excited to be with these guys and they push me to get better and that’s my goal to get better every day. It’s a great environment.”
Tessmann and Ferreira were promoted to the senior squad after originally being called into the U-23s at the beginning of the new year—another first for Tessmann. The group was stationed at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., alongside the senior USMNT.
“It was really good. We had a lot of good players,” Tessmann said of the U-23s. “We were integrated with the senior team, so it was a high level of training and we got to see all the coaching staff. Anthony Hudson was there, coach of the U-20s, Jason Kreis was there for the U-23s and Gregg (Berhalter) was there. So, we kind of got a lot of different coaching points from a lot of different angles. There were a lot of good players there to look at with the 23s. But overall, it was a great group and a great place to train. Dallas was kind of cold so going to Florida was really nice.”
Although Tessmann wasn’t the only new face in camp, it helped to have a fellow Dallas teammate in Ferreira to ease the transition.
“There’s a bunch of staff I’ve never met so to be able to reach out to Jesús and other guys I’ve made friends with (helped),” he said. “It makes me more comfortable to have someone I know here with me. I have someone to ask questions to and not feel stupid about it. But also on the field too. I know how he plays and that helps. On and off the field it’s very positive.”
Tessmann’s rise has been little short of meteoric. After graduating high school, Tessmann was on track to follow through on a football scholarship to Clemson where he planned on kicking as well as playing for the soccer team. However, after participating in FCD’s 2020 preseason, he was offered an MLS Homegrown contract which he signed two days prior to Dallas’ home opener vs. Philadelphia—a game he started and helped FCD to a 2-0 win. In all, Tessmann played 21 games over his rookie year, including a start in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Tessmann’s invitation to join the senior USMNT marks just how far he’s come over the past 12 months.
“For me, it’s just been what I did every day to get to this point and I try to enjoy every moment,” he continued. “There’s a lot of good moments. Whether it be with the Academy when we won the tournament in Monte Verde a year ago, that was a very good moment and I was really happy. To then move to North Texas SC and had a lot of good moments there. And then signing with the first team, we had a lot of good moments and a lot of low moments that we had to build up from. And then to get called into the U-23s, it was kind of a reward and I worked hard with them to hopefully be with them for Olympic Qualifying would be a big deal. And now to be up with the senior team, it’s really great. I’m very blessed to be here but the goal is keep working and accomplish things so that people know that Americans play soccer (laughs).”
Tessmann, Ferreira and the rest of Berhalter’s USMNT take on Trinidad & Tobago this Sunday, Jan. 31 at 6PM at Exploria Stadium in Orlando. The match – which will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 – is a chance for Tessmann to earn his first cap.
“I’m very excited just to be a part of it,” he said. “I want to make my debut and get out there and play. But even just to be on the bench with those players and to be around this group and see what it’s like to be on the national team. I’m very excited and it’s going to be a really fun day.”