As we begin a new season, I can’t help but feel a bit extra optimistic about the way things are going for FC Dallas. Because of that feeling, here are some things that I am most excited for this year with the club.
The newness factor
I, like Barney Stinson, believe that new is always better. I’ve had that rule about things for a while now and for the most part, the motto runs true. Everything about this season feels new. New coach. New system. New era. Loads of (expensive) new players. New upgrades in the facilities. New primary kits that bring the Hoops back in a for-real kind of manner.
New, new, new, new, new.
And honestly, I am here for it and it seems right now that The Hunts are too. Not only did they splash the cash on some big roster improvements this winter but they seem to be actively listening to folks more in terms of improving the overall experience of this team for the average fan. I’m hopeful that translates into a better game day experience too.
Time will tell but I’ll stick with this motto for the time being with regards to FC Dallas.
The kids aren’t kids anymore
We’ve all been a big fan of the “Play Your Kids” campaign over the last several years. In most cases, it has worked very well for FC Dallas when you consider the now long list of international transfers that they’ve been able to pick up because of playing the Homegrown players.
But a funny thing has happened this winter, we haven’t seen an influx of new Homegrown players to go with the now veteran ones on the team. Because of that, the kids that have been there are now grown up. Jesus Ferreira earned a FAT new contract that now sees him as a Young Designated Player with the team. Paxton Pomykal looks to move back into the middle of the attack, where he belongs. Brandon Servania looks to lock down a starting role in the midfield, as does Edwin Cerrillo. Toss in guys that weren’t Homegrown players like Ema Twumasi or Nkosi Tafari and that young lineup we’ve grown accustomed to isn’t so young anymore in terms of on-the-field experience.
That’s a good thing in my book. Hopefully, that means the days of immature play on the field are behind us for these guys.
North Texas SC could continue to show its value
Before the second team was launched back in 2019, we all knew the value that would be there for a club like FC Dallas. That bridge between the first team and the academy teams was severely lacking. Since then, we’ve seen guys like Ricardo Pepi, Bryan Reynolds, and Tanner Tessmann all from academy, to NTSC, to FC Dallas, to a foreign transfer.
While I don’t think we’re that close to seeing another guy go the same path this season for the team in terms of a foreign transfer, the jump from the second to the first team should still ring true. Look at guys like Eddie Munjoma, Kalil ElMedkar, and Nicky Hernandez, all of who spent a lot of time with NTSC in 2021 to potentially get more time with FCD in 2022.
Also, given how things have gone this preseason, maybe we’ll see a signing from NTSC to the first team for a guy like Blane Ferri. Just something to keep an eye out for this week as FCD becomes roster compliant for 2022.
The veterans leading the way
Most of you know that I am a big Matt Hedges guy. With Ryan Hollingshead gone to LAFC, Hedges, fellow defender Jose Martinez, and keeper Jimmy Mauer are the main leaders now in the clubhouse. Thankfully, they aren’t the only ones that can help carry the weight of things this season.
Don’t sleep on newcomer Paul Arriola to help lead things as well. He was a captain with D.C. United before coming here and I would imagine he will be a very vocal leader on and off the field this season.
I could also see Facundo Quignon become a key leader for this team as well. While he and Franco Jara haven’t exactly been a hit on the field for the club, their leadership off the field could end up being a bigger deal than we realize.
Alan Velasco could be a lot of fun
I have to admit, there is something about this kid that I am eager to see in person. The hype surrounding him kind of reminds me of when Fabian Castillo came to FC Dallas all of those years ago. Remember that? While it isn’t necessarily the exact same thing, in my head it feels similar to when Castillo came to Dallas. There was a buzz with him that I believe Velasco will bring to the pitch (when he finally arrives, darn US Visa issues).
I think the key thing for him will to be patient once he does arrive. We all know at this point that young foreign guys need time to adjust to the league, the travel, the various weather types across the country, and just living in a new place for that matter. He’s only 19-years old after all, an age that I’m sure most of us weren’t totally mature enough to live on our own either.
Still, I can’t wait to see what he can bring to this team once he gets settled.
What are some things you are most excited about this season with FC Dallas? Let us know below.