Tanner Tessmann dribbles - FC Dallas
USA Today Images

FC Dallas' Tanner Tessmann spurned European interest to sign Homegrown deal

Weighing how best to continue his development as he was transitioning from youth soccer to adulthood, Tanner Tessmann had options. 

Tessmann committed to play soccer (and football) at Clemson University, was getting closer to the FC Dallas first team and had interest from Europe. He went to preseason with FCD and before long it was evident he was ready for professional soccer, so Dallas offered him a Homegrown contract. 

Despite the admiring eyes from Europe, a destination Tessmann plans to reach at some point in his career, signing his first professional deal with Dallas was a no-brainer.

“I was planning on going to trial in the summer somewhere, we hadn’t made the decision yet where, but there is definitely interest over there [from Europe]," Tessmann told reporters on a video conference call on Tuesday. "I’ve been with FC Dallas a long time, that was the goal. I was loyal to them, they’re loyal to me. I’m glad how everything worked out, but in the future, Europe is definitely the plan.”

Tessmann decided staying would be best for his development, as well as showing loyalty to the club that has helped him get to where he is. 

“Playing here where they know me and I know them has me starting higher in the ranks," Tessmann said. "Playing at a high level in MLS to get myself known and hopefully do the same path that Reggie [Cannon] is going to do: Start here, play well and head over to Europe.”

It has been a rapid rise for the tall, graceful midfielder who burst onto the radar a few months ago. 

Tessmann celebrated signing his Homegrown deal by starting Dallas' first two MLS matches, marking his debut with an assist in a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union. At a club like FCD, with a cavalry of hyped youngsters, it's not easy to stick out. Tessmann wasn't often mentioned alongside the likes of fellow exciting young talents like Paxton Pomykal, Jesus Ferreira and Ricardo Pepi, making his rise to the first team all the more dramatic to neutrals. 

With the suspension of league play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he is eager to get back to playing. 

“It’s tough," Tessmann admitted of the stoppage. "It was a crazy experience to start, I was excited to go to New York and get an away game under my belt. All that momentum stopped when quarantine started, it’s tough. We’re going to have to move forward.”