FC Dallas is latest MLS team to move top academy coach into position with USL team

On the same day that 18-year-old defender Chris Richards was transferred to Bayern Munich, FC Dallas hired Eric Quill, the coach who recommended Richards to the MLS club from his Texans Soccer Club in Houston, to be the head coach of North Texas Soccer Club, the new FC Dallas second team that will play in USL League One.

Quill, 40, played one season for the Dallas Burn during his nine-year MLS playing career that began as part of the first MLS Project-40 class in 1997 out of Clemson, where he spent one year.

After retiring, Quill moved into coaching and led the Texans to the 2017 Development Academy U-18 championship, quite an accomplishment for the independent club co-founded by Roy Rees in 1983.

A coach's life: Eric Quill

After the Texans' championship season, Christian Cappis and Richards joined the FC Dallas academy program on Quill's recommendation. In his first season, Richards was signed by FC Dallas to a pro contract and moved to Bayern Munich, first on loan, soon after the clubs signed a partnership agreement, and then on a permanent transfer on Thursday. Goal.com reported the transfer fee to be $1.5 million for Richards, who signed a four-and-a-half-year contract.

FC Dallas wanted to sign Cappis, but MLS rules regarding territorial rights meant it could not sign Cappis without going through the Houston Dynamo. Cappis ended up signing with Hobro in Denmark. (A third player from Quill's Texans U-18s, English-born Alex Bruce, is in his second season with San Antonio FC in the USL.)

Quill, who himself played for the Texans on their 1994 U-16 U.S. Youth Soccer championship team, has a degree in health and psychology from the University of Houston.

“I’m honored to be chosen by the Hunt ownership, Luchi Gonzalez and Chris Hayden to lead North Texas SC in its inaugural season and help kick-start such an important piece of this fantastic organization,” he said. “FC Dallas has been on the cutting edge of player development. NTSC is the next step in expediting the development of young talent to be successful at the first-team level which is exciting to me.”

Quill is the third highly regarded academy coach to be hired this week to coach an MLS second team. Martin Vasquez and Chris Little were promoted to coach the Real Monarchs (operated by Real Salt Lake) and Seattle Sounders FC 2 (Sounders), respectively.

The moves reflect the increasing importance MLS owners are placing on pushing academy players through to their USL second teams and preparing them for the first team.

North Texas SC's first signing was FC Dallas star Ricardo Pepi, a 15-year-old forward from El Paso who is the youngest player on the U.S. U-17 national team.

The other signings are a pair of 19-year-old academy products -- Brecc Evans, who spent one year at Cal Poly, and Ronaldo Damus, who played for Haiti in 2018 World Cup qualifying at the age of 16 -- and 19-year-old Gambian Alfusainey Jatta, on loan from Czech club MFK Vyskov.

The core of the team is expected to come from young players playing down from FC Dallas and high school academy players who can play for USL pro teams without losing their college eligibility.

MLS-connected teams in 2019 USL Championship:
Atlanta United 2
(Atlanta United) Scott Donnelly, 1st year
Bethlehem Steel (Philadelphia Union) Brendan Burke, 4th year  
LA Galaxy II (LA Galaxy) Mike Munoz, 3rd year
Loudoun United (D.C. United) TBD
NY Red Bulls II (NY Red Bulls)  John Wolyniec, 5th year
Portland Timbers 2 (Portland Timbers) Cameron Knowles, 2nd year
Real Monarchs (Real Salt Lake) Martin Vasquez, 1st year
Reno 1868 (San Jose Earthquakes) Ian Russell, 3rd year
Rio Grande Valley FC (Houston Dynamo) Gerson Echeverry, 2nd year  
Seattle Sounders FC 2 (Seattle Sounders) Chris Little, 1st year
Swope Park Rangers (Sporting KC) Paulo Nagamura, 1st year

MLS-connected teams in 2019 USL League One:
North Texas SC
(FC Dallas) Eric Quill, 1st year
Orlando City B (Orlando City) Fernando De Argila, 1st year
Toronto FC II (Toronto FC) Michael Rabasca, 2nd year

mls, usl
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