North Texas Roster: Where It Stands
A couple of moves by FC Dallas and North Texas continues to shape up how the MLS Next Pro side will fit within the development structure in Frisco.
Sometimes, you wait to dump news you want forgotten about on a Friday, but in this case for FC Dallas, the news today was interesting, especially for those soccer nerds who care about development.
First, Collin Smith, a promising young right back, was loaned to the Birmingham Legion, a USL-C squad. While Smith earned some minutes in preseason and represented some inexpensive depth, this move makes sense for his long term development. Smith was unlikely to overcome either Ema Twumasi or Geovane Jesus for starting minutes, even in the Open Cup. He earned plenty of minutes the past two seasons with North Texas SC, gaining experience along the right side at both the USL-1 and Next Pro levels.
The kid has talent, but at 19 years old, it’s clear he continues to need to be challenged and get minutes.
The season-long loan to the Legion gives him the opportunity to step up another level and develop. All in all, a win for Collin and Dallas.
Second, North Texas SC announced its first trialist signing of the season, 21 year old Tomas Pondeca. Pondeca is a fascinating player and exactly the kind of guy the MLS Next Pro side should target. He has some international futsal experience, most recently with Paris ACASA. You can see his name on their wiki page here: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_ACASA_futsal
He is evidently showing well in preseason, scoring a couple of goals, and at the very worst for North Texas, they end up with a guy with a bit more experience and seasoning than some of the academy youngsters to bring along.
Keep in mind that Bernard Kamungo was 20 years old when he earned a tryout and roster spot for North Texas SC, and after a year of seasoning, moved to the senior team. Is that possible for Pondeca? Could he be a secretly good signing? We’ll see.
Since North Texas SC will likely rely on around 10 or so academy guys as well as some senior guys, the roster is starting to come together.
All in all, these two moves continue to point to the future of this club. The North Texas SC signing shows how the side is going to focus on this interesting blend of academy players getting opportunities to prove that they are ready, a handful of senior team players dropping down for seasoning and development, and a search for diamond in the rough trialists and loans from other leagues. It’s such a smart strategy and looks like the organization is casting a wide net for talent passed over by other squads - lots of low risk, high reward deals.
One of the missing links for FC Dallas has been getting those guys at the bottom of the roster meaningful minutes. North Texas SC is great, but after a season or two, players have to move on. If they can’t break into the senior team but need more development, getting a loan to a USL-C side is a great fit. If the team can get more guys like Collin Smith these sorts of deals, there is a higher chance they either become tradeable assets or return ready to compete for first team minutes.
Not earth shattering deals but important to keep tabs on for the future of FCD.
AFTERBURN SOCCER is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.