Eddie Munjoma signed with FC Dallas as their 27th homegrown player in January of 2020, months before the pandemic would hit and disrupt soccer, community, and life.
Now in 2021, the 22-year old has started three games for FC Dallas and is ready to grow into the position.
With Bryan Reynolds and Reggie Cannon on the depth chart ahead of him last year, Eddie understood that he would need to be patient for his senior team debut, spending most of his time with North Texas SC, but with Reggie departing to Boavista and Bryan Reynolds getting snatched up by AS Roma within a six month period, that wait wasn’t all that long.
As we saw with both Reggie and Bryan’s rise as senior-level players, Luchi Gonzalez likes to ease young players into the lineup until they feel more comfortable expressing themselves. Especially with a defender, it’s important to find a balance, helping the team generate an attack without compromising the team’s defensive shape.
Eddie recognized in these first few starts one of his focuses needed to be staying defensively solid.
“Coming in after leaving SMU and having a pretty successful time at SMU, I knew one of the main things I needed to improve was my defensive capabilities - just my defending in general,” Eddie told me. “I was pretty successful at SMU with my attacking, and I have that with me at all times. A lot of what the coaches instilled with me all throughout last season and into preseason was improving (my defending).”
Taking over a right back spot that saw the two previous starters land big transfers to Europe has to feel a bit intimidating. Eddie recognized it but recognized he is on his own path.
“I know I am still learning and growing,” Munjoma said. “Reggie had a different path. Bryan had a different path. And I’m sure I’m going to have a different path as well. I respect everything they did, but at the end of the day, I am my own person.”
“I know what I am capable of with attacking and with time it is going to come. Obviously, I am right back. I definitely have to take pride with that,” he offered.
With news that Brandon Servania will likely be returning from his loan where he has seen significant minutes at right back in Austria, I also asked Eddie about the competition in practice for starting minutes and if he feels any pressure.
Eddie acknowledged that competition for spots is built into the way the team operates.
“Every day is a competition. It’s a competition every day of the week. It’s never guaranteed. I have the mentality each week that I need to go out and earn it,” Eddie responded.
“Brandon coming back, regardless of what position he plays, I’m still in competition with everyone throughout the week,” he said. “When he comes back, it will be competitive again. I’m ready for it and so is the rest of the team.”
What’s clear to me is that Munjoma is aware of the work ahead of him to succeed as a professional soccer player in the shadow of two USMNT caliber players. I’m excited to see him grow even more into a right back who can help this team unlock its potential. I hope that attacking prowess comes sooner rather than later since the team could use the help.
What have you seen that impresses you from Eddie’s first starts of the season?