Jesse Gonzalez, Paxton Pomykal, and Jesus Ferreira are all on the roster that will face the Chivas U-20 side in the fourth edition of the game after each has had impressive seasons for a Dallas side that again has spent most of the year near the top of the Western Conference table.
Gonzalez has already made more starts as Dallas' goalkeeper this season (16) than he had in his previous two MLS campaigns. After taking over the starting job from Chris Seitz, his one-time international switch from Mexico to the US national team was approved last month before he worked his way onto Bruce Arena's roster for the elimination rounds of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“It’s always an honor to go out there and represent Dallas,” Gonzalez said of the Homegrown Game. “I think for every player it’s just an honor to go out there.”
Pomykal, meanwhile, made his first two career MLS starts in March, but has seen most of his success this season at the academy level, helping the FC Dallas U18s to their first ever Dallas Cup victory earlier in the year.
“This is my first real full year in MLS so it’s kinda cool to be able to say that I’m on the Homegrown roster with Jesse and Jesus representing FC Dallas," said the 17-year-old midfielder. "It’s an honor for me as well as the club to have the three.”
Ferreira became the second youngest scorer in MLS history with his goal against Real Salt Lake in Dallas’ 6-2 victory. That was after the 16-year-old son of former MLS MVP David Ferreira became the youngest Homegrown Player signed in club history last November.
With a league-leading 18 Homegrown signings all-time, Dallas has as well as any club in the league established the mindset of having players ready for the first team when they leave the academy ranks.
“It’s always important for us to see how we develop during the years,” Ferreira said. “We have to keep our head to be able to be in the academy through such a long path and be able to make it there, you know you have to keep your head and be motivated. Most players don’t get motivated enough to make it all the way and be selected. That shows how much our hard work has paid off and the path of becoming a pro has helped us a lot.”
The MLS Homegrown take on Chivas, the winners of the 2017 U-20 Clausura title. Many of Chivas’ team have represented the Mexican national team at the youth stages, including Diego Cortes, Juan Aguayo, and Kevin Magana, who played in the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup.
“It’s great,” Gonzalez said. “Playing Mexican teams is always great and good competition.”
Playing the Liga MX U20 Champions doesn’t put pressure on these Homegrowns. They’re excited for the opportunity to show their skill and show the world what MLS academies are producing.
“It’s just a normal game with great players that are gonna be there,” Ferreira said. “And to see everybody to play with Paxton, Jesse and other teammates is great.”