U.S. Soccer has strong ties to Dallas
Five of the 26 players on the U.S. Men's national soccer team have ties to FC Dallas.
Driving the news: The World Cup starts Sunday and the U.S., ranked 16th in the world, plays its first game Monday against 19th-ranked Wales.
State of play: Weston McKennie, who plays in the top Italian league, Kellyn Acosta of LAFC, and Jesus Ferreira, who was recently crowned MLS Young Player of the Year, are all former Dallas academy players.
- Shaq Moore, who played professionally in Spain before coming back to MLS, spent part of his youth career at FC Dallas.
- Defender Walker Zimmerman was drafted by FC Dallas and spent his first five professional seasons with the club.
- Two other players in contention for the final World Cup roster, Reggie Cannon and Ricardo Pepi, also went through the FC Dallas academy.
How it happened: In addition to having a massive youth club system in North Texas, FC Dallas has top-level facilities that attracted players from across the country. The club also gave younger academy players ample playing opportunities, something some teams shy away from.
What they're saying: "It just seemed like Dallas was a well-oiled machine before everyone else came along in the league," former U.S. under-20 team coach Tab Ramos, who used to captain the national team, told ESPN.
- U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart, a star of the 1994 U.S. World Cup team, told ESPN: "FC Dallas is one of the founders of identifying what development needs to look like, implementing it within their own region and then following through."
The bottom line: The huge North Texas footprint on the national team isn't a surprise to local soccer fans, but it's a nice validation.
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