2023 New Player Preview: Nolan Norris
In our first story series, we'll be introducing fans to the new players joining the squad for the 2023 season. Today's player: Nolan Norris
Nolan Norris has been with the FC Dallas Academy since he was 12 years old. Throughout his time in the academy, he played primarily left back and ended up winning the 2018 Dallas Cup. He’s also been called up to multiple youth national team camps. In 2022, he began to play for North Texas SC as an academy player, playing in ten games and starting five of them. He had previously committed to Furman last year. However, he signed with the first team in November and became the 35th academy player to sign a homegrown contract.
Position and Style
Throughout his time in the academy, Norris was lauded as a future professional due to his soccer brain and his ability to read play. His best attributes have never been physical, but rather mental.
Throughout the majority of his academy career, Norris played at left back. However, in the last year or so with the U19s, as well as North Texas SC, he began to play as a center back. Although he doesn’t have the height that would be important in a competitive league like MLS, his defensive IQ and his passing ability out of the back was a tool for North Texas SC last season.
For the entirety of preseason this year, Norris has been in the center back rotation.
In early January, as preseason was just getting started, Norris was seen as 4th in the depth chart behind Tafari, Martinez, and Ibeagha. When Korca came into preseason, there was some doubts as to whether Norris would fall even further (and there continues to be chatter about another center back being signed).
Furthermore, although Norris did play with North Texas SC last season, he could use a full season of starting every game under his belt and a full transition into the center back role.
Although our previous thoughts were Norris being loaned to North Texas for the 2023 season, Norris has played in every single preseason game. Coach Nico has rotated the roster with supposed starters and reserves in every match, so it in’t clear if a player has rose up in the ranks.
What is clear from preseason, however, is that Norris has performed very well, to the point where Nico continues to play him. Although he will likely play more for North Texas than the first team, Norris will probably get some minutes here and there, especially when injuries come into play.