It's odd to say such a thing about a 19-year-old — who only became a regular starter this season and missed seven games in May and June while at the U-20 World Cup — who is such an integral member not only of the starting XI, but the ethos of the team this season, but here we are.
Other teenage stars around the league don't quite have the same responsibility. Think Gianluca Busio in Kansas City, Julian Araujo in Los Angeles, Cole Bassett in Colorado or Pomykal's teammate Jesus Ferreira: They're all extremely talented, and valuable, players important to their teams producing key first-team minutes, but their burden isn't quite Pomykal's in Dallas.
Obviously, the preternaturally talented and abnormally mature teenager has caught the eye of clubs abroad. What happens if a huge bid rolls in?
“I don’t know what you consider a huge bid to be,” Dallas technical director Andre Zanotta told MLSsoccer.com last week with a laugh.
He confirmed there is interest abroad in the young star, though no offers just yet.
"I would like Paxton to be here as long as possible, I think it’s too early for him to go now," Zanotta said. "I’m aware that players, sometimes they have desires to play in Europe. We wouldn’t like Paxton to go, maybe 2-3 years from now. But he had a great U-20 World Cup and, honestly, at this stage clubs are interested in getting players as young as they can. We hope he can continue here for a while.”
From Neymar to Felipe Anderson to Arthur, to everyone in between, Zanotta is well experienced in overseeing deals of young talents to the best teams in the world during his time in Brazil. It's part of why Dallas was interested in the executive, it's part of why the fit was so natural on a sporting sense.
Still, with the success Zanotta had with Santos and Gremio, someone who had been working at the highest levels in the country for a decade, the move seemingly came out of nowhere.
“When I got the chance to speak about this possibility, I thought it’d be a great step for my career," Zanotta said. "The difference between working in South America then with clubs here, the professionalism and long-term thinking is greater here than it is there. Clubs in South America are politically driven, you have elections. They think only of the immediate results. Here, getting to know more about FC Dallas throughout the years, it was something special.”
When Zanotta arrived to start his new position in Dallas, it wasn't the first time he'd been in the area. He had taken a semester as an exchange student in North Texas in 1997, where he quickly fell in love with the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Stars, as well as Dallas Burn, as the MLS club was known then.
His interest in American sports helped give him foundation for on-boarding MLS's unique rules and regulations, including trades, the salary cap and free agency.
“I follow other sports here in America, so I understand where it comes from for some things in MLS," Zanotta said. "For me, I cannot say I’m fully aware (of all the rules) but I’m much better than I was a few months ago. ... I lived in North Texas 20 years ago, so it was a fantastic coincidence to come back. I used to follow American football, and at that time, the Dallas Stars had a really strong team. They won the Stanley Cup. American football I still followed in Brazil. Those are my favorite American sports here that I watch.”