FC Dallas had already proven themselves to be one of the top clubs on the continent for developing young stars, with the likes of Weston McKennie, Reggie Cannon and Chris Richards all emerging from the academy and flourishing for top clubs in Europe.
However, it is Ricardo Pepi that has the world talking about the team’s esteemed academy. The 18-year-old put the world on notice with standout performances for his country during a critical World Cup qualifying campaign. The United States missed out on the world’s most prestigious tournament four years ago and are relying on youngsters like Pepi to get them to Qatar.
Pepi started in three of the United States’ opening six games of the final round of qualifying, scoring three goals and providing an assist for his country. If it isn’t the FC Dallas man leading the line, the Americans do not have many other alternatives. We’ve seen Theoson Siebatcheu of Young Boys and Gyasi Zardes of the Columbus Crew also play in that position, but without the same success as Pepi.
The United States still have a long way to go before punching their ticket to Qatar, but their supporters will feel a lot better for their chances of qualification to the World Cup this time around than they did four years ago and in large part it is thanks to the contributions of Pepi. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on where the prodigy ultimately ends up playing his club football too, but expect him to make a big move across the pond to Europe sooner rather than later.