FRISCO, Texas - The new season inches closer and closer and with it a new batch of FC Dallas squad numbers. The club welcomed five new players during the offseason and a further four players updated their jersey numbers to better fit their personalities.
Here's a rundown of FCD's new squad numbers and the meanings behind them:
Eddie Munjoma, #2
The 2021 season presents a big opportunity for 22-year-old Homegrown Eddie Munjoma. With Reggie Cannon and Bryan Reynolds having made the jump to Europe in recent months, Munjoma enters preseason with a chance to make the right back spot his own for the upcoming season. Munjoma also opted to give up his previous number 27 shirt (which he took after being signed as the club's 27th Homegrown) in favor of #2, Cannon's old number.
“The main reason I chose number 2 is just because of the legacy of what that number means in general to soccer. People wear number 2 because there’s obviously big shoes to fill there. A lot of the greatest players in the world who play my position wear that number and it’s just kind of a tradition. And just to piggyback off that, one of my best friends Reggie (Cannon), he also wore that number. He did great things here at the club, so it also makes number 2 a legacy at this club. I know they’re big shoes to fill but I feel like that I’m up for the challenge. And I obviously want to follow in his footsteps.” —Eddie Munjoma
José Antonio Martínez, #3
Following the departure of defender and former captain Reto Ziegler, FC Dallas made Spanish center back José Martínez its first new signing of the offseason. As fellow left-footed central defender, Martínez is, on a paper, a like-for-like Ziegler replacement who will also wear the former Switzerland international's numbers 3 jersey. But that's not the only reason the 27-year-old Spaniard chose it:
"It's my father's favorite number and I asked him if he would like for me to wear it and I'm happy I'm able to wear it with this team. AIso, Reto Ziegler wore it before me and I think it's an honor to be able to wear it because he was the team captain. It's a number that has its identity and I like it a lot." —José Martínez
Edwin Cerrillo, #6
Homegrown midfielder Edwin Cerrillo makes on of the more notable number changes as he swaps his old #33 for the number 6 jersey. The number 6 shirt is synonymous with the defensive midfield position meaning – as Cerrillo explains – the Waco native is being entrusted with more responsibility within the team.
“It wasn’t really my idea because Luchi (Gonzalez) offered to give me number 6. I think it’s important for me to take a next step and to really secure a position for the future and play the number 6 (position). So getting the number 6 jersey means a lot to me and just means that I have more responsibility and I need to mature more and take it a step further by cementing myself in the team." —Edwin Cerrillo
Jáder Obrian, #7
Another new face this year is winger Jáder Obrian who joins FCD from Águilas Doradas in his native Colombia. Although Obrian sported #8 at his previous club, the 25-year-old will wear number 7 for Dallas after the number was vacated by Jesús Ferreira (more on that below). Obrian said the number 7 doesn't have any specific meaning to him but, much like Cerrillo with the #6, the number is representative of his position out on the right wing.
Jesús Ferreira, #9
For the second consecutive season, Homegrown forward Jesús Ferreira will begin the new season with a new number. Last year, Ferreira swapped his original 27 shirt for the #7 after a breakout 2019 campaign that saw him finish as Dallas' leading scorer at just 18 years old. The change didn't stick, however, as Ferreira has moved on to the #9 jersey, the number he wore recently to good effect for the U.S. Men's National Team.
Nkosi Burgess, #14
Next up is second-year defender Nkosi Burgess. Last season, the 23-year-old wore number 28 for FCD and 29 during his six games playing for North Texas SC in USL League One. This year, Burgess has chosen the #14 shirt as a nod to his 2020 MLS SuperDraft position.
“I wanted to change numbers to get a more personal feel. When you’re out there, it’s one of the few things besides your name and the badge that you can really make yours. So, I was drafted 14th so that’s one of the main reasons I picked it really and it’s just something that I feel I had some say in. So, I chose 14.” —Nkosi Burgess
Freddy Vargas, #17
Although he wore 28 for his former club, newcomer and preseason breakout player Freddy Vargas chose #17 when he came to Dallas. The number is a nod to his young daughter, who was born on July 17. The 17 jersey was previously worn by Francis Atuahene for FCD.
Kalil ElMedkhar, #21
Our penultimate new player is former University of Kentucky winger Kalil ElMedkhar, who takes the #21 jersey for his first professional season. Famously worn by Michael Barrios for six seasons, the 21 jersey isn't a traditional number for a winger but nonetheless is perfect for ElMedkhar as it's the same number he sported during his collegiate soccer days.
"It has a special meaning because I wore it in college and my last year in the (Philadelphia) Union Academy. It’s just something that I’ve carried with me for a long time so it’s kind of become special to me. —Kalil ElMedkhar
Nicky Hernandez, #80
Last but not least is SMU alum Nicky Hernandez. The midfielder was signed in the offseason after being drafted in the first round of 2021 MLS SuperDraft. Although he wore #15 for North Texas SC last year, Hernandez opted to pick #80 for his rookie MLS season. The number 8 shirt is special to Hernandez and his family (his father is a former pro who was on the Dallas Burn's roster in the late '90s), but since the #8 is currently worn by Bryan Acosta for FCD, Hernandez chose the next best thing and went with 80.
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