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Now more than ever, FC Dallas needs a USL team

Dallas Cup titles showcase winning culture in FC Dallas academy

Colin Mitchell

There is something truly special going on right under our noses. Over the weekend two FC Dallas academy teams won Dallas Cup trophies, with the U-18s winning the elite Super Group trophy for the first time.

Not only did they become the first MLS side to win the Super Group, they were just the second American team to ever do so.

Culture built on winning

Just take a quick look at what this U-18 group has accomplished in the last three years.

Yes, that is 56 wins and three major trophies. The club has already cashed in on players like Reggie Cannon, Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira, all three who played a big role in getting this latest trophy.

While the U-18s won the big prize, there were others that showed the golden generation may only be getting started for the FCD Academy. The U-16s showed pretty well an equally challenging GA Cup tournament, where they placed seventh. The U-15s won their Dallas Cup bracket, becoming the first FCD team to win a Dallas Cup trophy. The U-13s came up short in the finals of their bracket.

The winning is speaking volumes from the top down. The culture of this academy is becoming synonymous with winning. Oscar Pareja notices this much as well.

But what is next?

I’m not a fan of beating a dead horse. But our constant question continues to be, “when will FCD go all in with a USL side?” These results over the weekend show that the time is now for the front office to invest in the next level of player development for these academy stars.

It doesn’t come down to the fact that we’ve already lost the likes of Devin Vega, Hector Montalvo, and Weston McKennie from not having this sort of level in the player development pyramid at FCD. I still stand firm in the thought that those three were going to move on even if the club had a USL team already in the works.

No, the USL team in my mind is more for the guys like Arturo Rodriguez or Brandon Terwege, ones that need just a little more seasoning before getting one of those valued Homegrown contracts.

I look at how New York and LA are handling their HGPs these days through the USL by signing them to deals there before signing them to HGP deals with the MLS side. That is the next step for some of these players. The Pomykals, Ferreiras and Cannons will continue to go through to the MLS side all the time, but we need that next level for those that are just a step below.

Push the envelope more

At the end of the day, we should be incredibly proud of what this group has accomplished in the last three years. Wins are one thing. Titles are another. But at the same time the club needs to continue to push the envelope. A USL club would push that envelope more than it ever has for the player development side of things.

Again I bring up LA and New York, two clubs that seems to have the USL side of things figured out at this point. I would be willing to bet that both are just a couple years away from seeing the success that they have enjoyed at the USL level, pay off at a MLS level.

I don’t think it would take FCD long to enjoy that as well with Pareja at the helm. As we already know, he has pushed the envelope in player development further than most coaches in the league with the way he utilities Homegrown players.

I can’t help but think what it would be like for him to have players who have won academy and Dallas Cup titles, come up through a USL team that continues to preach the same message and practice the same culture, only to help push the MLS side to a MLS Cup trophy. Pipe dreams, sure, but they are all achievable at this point.