Written by Will Parchman

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We are inundated with praise for FC Dallas’ academy. The positivity seems to ooze out of the league’s very fabric as the club signs one promising academy kid after another. And when one scores, well, you light the beacons to Frisco and tell the rest of the league to follow the leader.

There is something undoubtedly numbing about all this from a partisan point of view. Fans of the opposition become necessarily calloused to it – here comes more FCD academy news – but there is a method to it. The notion an academy can feed an entire MLS club is notably new, a fleeting ideal that’s never been tested in any substantive way until recently. The MLS modus operandi has historically involved a heavy dose of mistrust when it came to its own fledgling academies. Shifting that viewpoint takes time, but it also takes some small measure of indoctrination.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Back in the 2017 preseason, we knew something big was swirling around Jesus Ferreira’s bourgeoning career. Months earlier he’d been made a 15-year-old Homegrown and then allowed to continue playing in the DA with the vaunted FCD U18 side that just won a national title. And on the heels of that, in the preseason he seemingly could not stop scoring.

Ferreira is now 16. And in his first ever appearance, a stint of just 19 minutes, Ferreira bagged his first professional goal. Ferreira is now the second-youngest goal-scorer in MLS history and the Youngest Not Named Freddy Adu. The speed of his train practically groans with excitement.

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Written by Will Parchman

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In 2015, the FC Dallas U16 Development Academy side ran over the New York Red Bulls like a train through crepe paper. The 4-0 result left little doubt about the most holistically successful academy in the country at that age group at that moment. A year later, the FC Dallas U18 team recorded a 2-1 extra time win over the Whitecaps to win the same trophy at a later age (the U16s also won the natty title that month, but I digress).

On Sunday, the final continuation. FC Dallas’ U19 team – it was a collection of player ages, but under a U19 umbrella – became just the second American side to ever win the Dallas Cup Super Group with a hugely impressive 2-1 win over Monterrey on Sunday night in Frisco. It was the first time an American team had won this competition since 2006, when Omar Gonzalez’s Dallas Texans took home the event’s ultimate silverware.

The same FC Dallas age group, working its way up to older age ranges until pooling out here, just won three major trophies in three years, the last of which was an international trophy unmatched in American club soccer. There is no competition in the U.S. youth game harder to win and more prestigious to hoist than the one FC Dallas just won in Texas. There is the Gordon Jago Super Group, and then there are the others.

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Written by Will Parchman

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It perhaps has not been the ideal Generation adidas Cup from an MLS perspective. MLS sides won just one of the four Champions Division groups (all hail New York Red Bulls), which means only one of the four semifinalists will be repping the hosting domestic league. In the grand scheme, it’s not that big a deal. This is a developmentally-focused tournament, after all. But we’re dealing with competitive folks here. Wins are fun.

In any case, the marquee matchup of this event from the off was always FC Dallas and Real Madrid. Ironically, the two met on Wednesday with little of substance to actually play for; the relatively unheralded Independiente del Valle from Ecuador had already won the group and made the FCD-Real Madrid matchup about table scraps.

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Written by Will Parchman

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In 2016, FC Dallas’ payroll became one of the deepest signifiers in history of what it is to succeed in a capped league. Or at least one of the avenues.

In both base salary and total guaranteed compensation, FC Dallas was the cheapest team in the league in 2016 by the time the first salary dump was released that May. In fact, in total compensation FC Dallas spent almost a full $1 million less than anyone else in all of MLS. Fronting a small ball approach that values homespun Homegrowns and value buys on the South American transfer market, all FC Dallas did was snare a Supporter’s Shield/U.S. Open Cup double. Taking into account the relative crapshoot that is the MLS postseason, the SS is probably the most coveted (and hardest to win) trophy in the league.

At the center of FC Dallas’ rewriting of the formula – the club has essentially stood long-held notions of free spending on their head – is Fernando Clavijo, the club’s transfer market guru. At the head of a small group of well-connected staffers, Clavijo’s worn thin the path to nations like Colombia, Argentina and Brazil in an effort to woo top young players to Frisco. And by and large, the formula’s worked.

I recently sat down with Clavijo to mine into arguably the most distinct and successful build model in the league’s history. How does he approach players? When he does, what’s their general perception on MLS? How has it changed? And if he had a magic wand, how much more money does he want to compete with the best of the best in all the Americas?

That and more in our Q&A.

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Written by Travis Clark

Is this going to be the year of Kellyn Acosta?

Fresh off a call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team for World Cup qualifying, the midfielder scored a tremendous free kick to lead FC Dallas to a 2-1 win last night against Pachuca.

The goal puts FCD up after the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal against the Liga MX side, and is a hint of things to come from the burgeoning midfielder.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Jesus Ferreira goal videos are becoming something of a running theme ’round these parts.

Back in December, not long before I tabbed him as FC Dallas’s best up-and-coming prospect, Ferreira did a fairly crazy thing at the Development Academy’s winter showcase in Florida with FCD’s U18s. During the preamble to a free kick, the New York Red Bulls let left their drawbridge open and unguarded, and Ferreira walked right inside the gates. The goal was an object lesson in chicanery.

Ferreira’s at it again, this time on the senior level.

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Written by Will Parchman

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The Development Academy showcase is currently running through its paces in Florida, which means a collection of the nation’s brightest young stars are currently throwing hands in front of sidelines choked with scouts.

One of the most anticipated of those games was the Red Bulls-FC Dallas U18 match on the opening Thursday of the event. The two are routinely the most talent-laden academies over the last three years, and FCD’s 2016 national title sweep proves they’re the kings of the castle for now. The game duly didn’t disappoint, the sides struggling to a 1-1 conclusion that fairly reflected the evenness of the talent levels.

The way they tied? That was a bit unique.

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Written by Will Parchman

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The fields of green stretched in neat rows from left to right, tucked one after the other under a slate gray sky. You could see them easily underneath the shadow of the massive expanse of the BayArena, the incubation factory of one of Europe’s most unlikely powerhouses.

In September I visited Bayer Leverkusen, the home of the youngest team to qualify for the 2016-17 Champions League and one of the most youth-friendly clubs in all of Europe. It has been a club ethos to chase youth for years, something club CEO Michael Schade reiterated during my visit there.

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Written by Will Parchman

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There are a few notable tropes needed for a match – whether an international or a CCL event – to fulfill that lofty aim of becoming a Real Moment of CONCACAF. Maybe there’s an impromptu wrestling match at midfield between strikers. Perhaps a snowstorm in Nicaragua in July? The only mandatory thing is that it makes no sense and everyone leaves more confused than when they entered.

In that sense, FC Dallas’s 5-2 win over Guatemala’s Suchitepéquez was very, very CONCACAF.

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