After scoring his first MLS hat trick, FC Dallas has signed Homegrown forward Ricardo Pepi to a new, five-year contract through 2026.
Details of the new deal were not released at this time but based on Pepi’s salary information that was revealed by the MLS Player’s Association, we can probably assume the 18-year old will be making more than his reported $108k in total compensation.
Pepi has scored 11 goals and recorded two assists across all competitions for FC Dallas, including his first MLS career hat trick over the weekend. He is the youngest player in MLS and FC Dallas history to score a hat trick at 18 years and 196 days old, surpassing the MLS record previously set in 2013 by Kekutah Manneh at 18 years and 283 days. He has earned two MLS Team of the Week honors this season and was named Player of the Week on July 26 after his hat trick against the Galaxy at Toyota Stadium.
He signed with FC Dallas as the 26th Homegrown at 16 years and 163 days old on June 21, 2019, making him the fourth-youngest player in club history behind Bryan Reynolds, Dante Sealy, and Jesús Ferreira.
He is the first true pathway player in the FC Dallas Academy after starting his soccer career in the FC Dallas-El Paso affiliate then signing with FC Dallas’ USL League One affiliate North Texas SC on Dec. 6, 2018, and lastly the senior team.
Thoughts on this new contract
So why offer a new contract now? Obviously, this move is about protecting the investment in Pepi. His original contract was likely set to expire soon, possibly even after the 2022 season (a lot of HGP deals are three years long).
With recent reports of Pepi being courted by Italian clubs, FC Dallas is just doing what we’ve seen them do time and time again with these young HGP players by getting them signed early, find playing time for them, and then offer a new deal once foreign clubs begin sniffing around at them. They’ve done moves like this in the past with Jesus Ferreira, Paxton Pomykal, and more recently with Reggie Cannon and Bryan Reynolds before they moved on to new clubs in the last year.
What do you make of Pepi getting a new deal now? Is he the next player to get a transfer to Europe? Let us know what you think below.