DALLAS — On Thursday, FC Dallas officially launched its new USL League One team, named North Texas SC. It is the final USL League One team to be announced for the 2019 season, bringing the league up to 10 teams for its debut. FC Dallas season ticket members will have access to every NTSC game. NTSC will play at Toyota Stadium, home of FC Dallas, for 2019, with the possibility of playing elsewhere in the future. More on that later.
Also announced was general manager Matt Denny, formerly the director of group ticket sales for FC Dallas. Though Denny has spent nearly a decade in the sales side of the front office, he actually has a thorough soccer background, including a UEFA B license and experience running the Lyons Township Soccer Club near Chicago.
The team also made its first player signing, 15-year-old forward Ricardo Pepi. Pepi just turned 15 a few months ago, yet at age 14 he was already a regular with the FC Dallas U-17 Academy team. This season, he scored a ludicrous 19 goals in just eight appearances and received three call-ups to the U-17 national team. This kid has been on the prospects radar in the Dallas soccer scene for years now and it’s incredibly reassuring to see the organization signing him as a professional. He’s now the 26th FC Dallas Academy kid to turn pro, and he’s on a four-year contract. All very, very good things.
The club is now in the process of signing its first head coach, and so far it seems like Luchi Gonzales is the front-runner. It makes perfect sense. He’s been academy director since late 2015, he’s been coaching within the academy since 2012 and his teams have been nothing short of dominant. With the expectation of NTSC’s roster comprising almost entirely ex-Academy talent, it’s absolutely the right move. Expect this to be confirmed in the next few weeks.
Part of the idea and mission behind North Texas SC is to represent more than just Dallas (or Frisco). While the club will play in the first team’s stadium for 2019, they are planning to play additional games around the DFW Metroplex. Downtown Dallas and Fort Worth have both been mentioned as potential sites for games, as a way to literally bring the team to the people and promote the entire FC Dallas organization on a much wider scale. Both of these are welcome developments to a fan base all too familiar with a lack of marketing and market awareness. So far, nothing specific has been announced, but the new ballpark under construction in Dallas’ Reverchon Park for an upcoming independent baseball team seems plausible.
The USL League One season is gradually being revealed, but quite a bit is already confirmed. The 2019 season will include 10 teams, all officially announced now, with NTSC as one of three MLS team-owned clubs. The season will begin the weekend of March 29-31, will comprise 28 games for each team and will end the weekend of Oct. 4-6. Playoffs will include the top four teams from the table (no conferences) and will start the weekend of Oct. 11-13, with the final held between Oct. 17-21.
In MLS news, FC Dallas is expected to announce its new coach sometime next week. While current assistant Marco Ferruzzi and USA U-20 coach Tab Ramos have been rumored, there’s also been news of “coaches with Champions League experience” in discussions for the job. I’d currently give 40 percent odds that it’s Ferruzzi, 20 percent on Ramos, 10 percent on Gonzales getting the first team gig instead, 20 percent on somebody completely unexpected, 5 percent on someone fired in MLS in the past few seasons and 5 percent on a flaming meteor.
Follow John on Twitter: @JohnMLTX.
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