MANHATTAN – Current FC Dallas defender and former FGCU men's soccer standout and 2015 Atlantic Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Guillen has been named to the 2016 MLS Homegrown Team, as selected by U.S. Soccer legend and MLS Homegrown Team head coach Landon Donovan.
One of just 20 players to make the team, Guillen earns a trip to the Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game against the Mexican Under-20 National Team as part of AT&T MLS All-Star Week events in San Jose, Calif., later this month.
The game – which will likely have added meaning for Guillen as he is a dual citizen who was born in Chihuahua, Mexico – is set for 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 27, at Avaya Stadium, one day before the AT&T MLS All-Star Game against English Premier League heavyweights Arsenal FC.
The MLS Homegrown Team features some of the league's most accomplished young stars aged 23 or under who were hand-selected by Donovan. Guillen – who signed as a Homegrown Player on Jan. 5, 2016, after his senior season with FGCU – joined FC Dallas Academy prior to 2011-12, and with his prior affiliation to FC Dallas he became eligible for a Homegrown Contract which allows teams to sign local products directly from their academy to their professional team.
"It's a tremendous honor and accomplishment for Aaron," stated FGCU head coachBob Butehorn. "I couldn't be more proud of him. When Aaron got to FGCU he worked extremely hard to go from a good player into a very good player, and now that work ethic has helped develop him into one of the best young defenders in the MLS."
Guillen, FC Dallas's record 14th Homegrown signing, made his MLS debut on Mar. 29 in a 3-0 win at DC United when he started and played all 90 minutes. He is one of three total FC Dallas Homegrown Players selected to the team, joining goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez and midfielder Coy Craft.
The MLS Homegrown Team will take on its most formidable opponent to date in the Mexico U-20s, one of the region's most accomplished youth national teams. The Mexico U-20s own 13 CONCACAF U-20 Championship titles and have won the past three editions of the tournament in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
During his career with FGCU, Guillen was named to the ASUN All-Freshman Team and followed with three-consecutive ASUN First Team selections. As a senior, Guillen garnered NSCAA All-Southeast Second Team honors. He anchored a defensive unit that paced the conference in goals allowed (13 – nine fewer than any other team), goals against average (0.88 – 0.45 better than any other team) and shutouts (seven – two more than any other team). During league matches, the Eagles scored 14 more goals than their opponents, allowing just one goal in ASUN play.
Guillen helped lead FGCU to ASUN regular-season championships each of his four years with the Green and Blue, a pair of ASUN Tournament titles and two berths in the NCAA Tournament where they earned a 0-0 tie before failing to advance on penalty kicks at USF in 2012 and allowed a diving-header goal in the 86th minute in a 1-0 loss at Coastal Carolina in 2014. Guillen helped guide the Eagles to a record of 34-24-12 in his career, including a dominant 20-3-4 mark in ASUN games.
He is one of two former FGCU men's soccer players competing in MLS currently as past teammate Rodrigo Saravia is in his inaugural season with Columbus Crew SC after being selected with the 19th overall pick in the First Round of the MLS SuperDraft in January. Also from that same storied 2015 Class, goalkeeper Nathan Ingham inked a professional deal with Edmonton FC in the North American Soccer League.
Guillen will be the second FGCU product to appear at his league's respective all-star festivities in July. On Tuesday night, former Eagle Chris Sale – the 2010 National Collegiate Pitcher of the Year and five-time American League All-Star with the Chicago White Sox – was the starting pitcher for the AL All-Star Team, helping the AL to a 4-2 victory over the National League.
2016 MLS Homegrown Team Roster
Goalkeepers: Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas), Maxime Crepeau (Montreal Impact)
Defenders: Aaron Guillen (FC Dallas), Danilo Acosta (Real Salt Lake), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Phanuel Kavita (Real Salt Lake), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United), Tyler Turner (Orlando City SC)
Midfielders: Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake), Jay Chapman (Toronto FC), Coy Craft (FC Dallas), Harrison Heath (Orlando City SC), Aaron Kovar (Seattle Sounders FC), Raul Mendiola (LA Galaxy), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes)
Forwards: Joey Calistri (Chicago Fire), Jordan Hamilton (Toronto FC), Jack McBean (LA Galaxy), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)