FC Dallas announced their third club affiliation today with the news that Texas Fire Soccer Club of El Paso is now FC Dallas El Paso. FCDEP joins FC Dallas Emerald Coast in Florida and FC Dallas West in Midland, however this partnership is more significant than those with the news that El Paso becomes the first Tier 1 affiliation.
This meansthat kids from this team qualify as Home Grown players for FC Dallas, with the best players likely being sent to the FCD Development Academy teams here in Frisco. FC Dallas El Paso is 10 years old and has produced Omar Salgado, the 2011 MLS first overall draft pick as well as Michael Ambrose, arguably the best talent on the current FC Dallas U18 Academy team.
5 kids from the El Paso program have moved to Frisco for the academy season that is 2 weeks old, Alonso Gallegos(U18), Aaron Guillen(U18), Cesar Murillo(U15), James Olmos(U15) and Jose Livano Salas(U15).
In a depressing couple of weeks for FC Dallas fans, this is some fantastic news as El Paso has long been an untapped market from an American perspective with the best players going to Mexico.
Jump for the full press release with quotes
FRISCO, Texas (Sept. 26, 2011) – Texas Fire Soccer Club of El Paso is now FC Dallas El Paso, becoming the third FC Dallas affiliation made this year, the club announced today.
FC Dallas El Paso joins FC Dallas Emerald Coast in Florida and FC Dallas West in Midland, Texas. The El Paso alliance marks the first Tier 1 affiliation for the club under the framework of Major League Soccer’s player development guidelines. Players from Tier 1 affiliates qualify as Home Grown players for the parent MLS Club.
“Our goal is to be the best youth development system in Major League Soccer and North America”, said club President and CEO, Doug Quinn. “The principal function of our affiliate program is to further support that goal, and to identify and develop the most talented athletes from not only within the DFW Metroplex, but also across the entire southwest region. El Paso has a wealth of talented soccer players and Texas Fire has a long and distinguished tradition of producing capable athletes. We are confident that this partnership will help strengthen both of our programs and we are proud to welcome them into our FC Dallas family.”
The 10-year old El Paso club currently includes 22 teams with more than 400 players thanks in part to its recent merger with Mexicas Soccer Club. The club and its dedicated staff in El Paso have produced many notable players, including 2011 first round MLS draft pick Omar Salgado (Vancouver), FCD U18 Academy Captain and U.S. Youth National Team veteran Michael Ambrose. Recently five youth athletes from the El Paso program joined the development program in Frisco for the 2011-12 Academy season: Alonso Gallegos (U18), Aaron Guillen (U18), Cesar Murillo (U15), James Olmos (U15), and Jose Livano Salas (U15).
“The opportunities and exposure that FC Dallas will provide for the city of El Paso and the soccer community are going to be extraordinary” said FC Dallas El Paso Director of Coaching Ralph Sifuentes. “We welcome FC Dallas to El Paso with open arms and with great pride. Our alliance with FC Dallas will allow us to provide an even higher level of coaching and development of our players for their potential collegiate, professional, and national team careers. We will work diligently to properly implement the FCD Way.”
Through its affiliate program FC Dallas is sharing its trademark FCD Way age-specific curriculum with existing youth clubs that model the style of soccer and philosophies that have made the FCD Way so successful.
FC Dallas affiliate clubs follow the FCD Way curriculum and wear FC Dallas uniforms and training gear. The clubs will also have access to almost all of the same benefits as members of the existing youth club based at Pizza Hut Park, including School of Excellence camps and college combines, the FCD college preparation program, affiliate coaches continuing education, discounted admission to FC Dallas MLS games and support to help strengthen the club’s competitive level. Players on FC Dallas affiliate teams will be able to train or play with the FC Dallas Academy, Pre-Academy, Elite Clubs National League and Women’s Premier Soccer League teams.
“The affiliation is centered around the players,” said Academy Director Oscar Pareja. “It is about providing them with the best soccer environment and reaching their optimal potential. Their players are talented, and we are happy to have them as members of our program. This is something we have been working on for over a year now and it is great that the result offers such a promising future for player development.”