FC Dallas' Paxton Pomykal hopes to add USMNT debut to milestone season

ST. LOUIS — Paxton Pomykal has made great strides in 2019. But the bar has been raised even higher with his first call-up to the US men’s national team.

“The year’s been great to learn, grow, get a lot of minutes and learn things about my body and style of play,” the 19-year-old FC Dallas midfielder said Monday ahead of the USMNT international friendly against Uruguay (8 pm ET | FS1, Univision, TUDN) at Busch Stadium Tuesday night. “But this opportunity here is what it’s all about.”

In a breakout campaign, Pomykal has become a regular starter for first-year FC Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez, was named an MLS All-Star for the first team and was a standout for the US at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The USMNT presents his biggest step up the ladder.

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“I struggled maybe the first couple of days getting my feet wet,” Pomykal said of the national team camp. “But I think that now I’m starting to understand the system more and it’s been good.”

Pomykal is part of a USMNT youth movement that includes established stars like Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie as well as Josh Sargent and Pomykal’s FC Dallas teammate, Reggie Cannon.

“The average age is pretty young for this camp,” Cannon said before training Sunday. “The youth wave for the U.S. is coming.”

Pomykal, however, said that the team’s age is secondary to performance.

“We do have youth, but at the same time we have youth that’s playing at a high level,” Pomykal said. “Josh is getting Bundesliga minutes, as opposed to a 28-year-old who might be playing in a league not on that high of a level. Whether you’re 20 or you’re 28, if you do the job, then you deserve the opportunity,”

Pomykal has already made a good first impression with USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter.

“He’s been good,” Berhalter said. “It’s been fun to watch him up close. From what we see, we like. He’s a very intelligent player and a technically good player. He’s a great guy to be around.”

What Berhalter is seeing first-hand now is what Cannon has known for years.

“I’ve been trying to get Paxton ingrained into the national team system,” Cannon said. “I really want him to get the most success possible that he can have with the national team because I really do believe he’s the future.”

In a season full of milestones, perhaps the biggest is yet to come Tuesday night.

“It’s a dream to make that debut for the senior team,” Pomykal said. “When I get that moment, I’m going to treasure it.”


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