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Historic Player Development Agreement
FC Dallas and Bayern Munich have announced a unique multi-year partnership designed for both clubs to improve and expand upon their talent pools. Players within both professional academies will have a pathway to playing football in both the United States and Germany. Dallas and Bayern will also come together to exchange talent, allowing young players to experience different coaching styles and settings to enhance their development.
“We are thrilled to join FC Bayern Munich in this groundbreaking collaboration,” FC Dallas chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement. “One of our primary goals is to develop an academy and a club that can compete at the highest level on a global scale. This unprecedented partnership with one of the most successful clubs in the world marks a significant step toward that goal, and we look forward to working closely with the outstanding leadership at FC Bayern.”
“The United States is home to our very first international office, highlighting our commitment to engaging and growing FC Bayern’s fan base in the Americas,” added FC Bayern Munich’s Executive Board Member for Internationalization and Strategy, Jörg Wacker. “Our intention from the beginning has been to help support the growth of soccer in the US, supporting the existing development of players. For us, FC Dallas is the ideal partner.”
According to MLSsoccer.com, the two sides began discussing the possibility of a partnership in 2014, when Bayern Munich became the first European football club to open offices in New York. Talks continued during last year’s Super Bowl in Houston and in December three Homegrown FC Dallas players – Bryan Reynolds, Paxton Pomykal and Reggie Cannon – travelled to Munich to participate in a 10-day training camp with Bayern academy players.
“The agreement wasn’t based on ‘just give us your partner list,’” FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said in a Sports Business Daily article. “Our focus here is on developing young players, and I think this is going to produce better soccer players, not only for FC Dallas but our youth national team as well.”
FC Dallas players and coaches will be welcomed at the FC Bayern Campus, which opened in August of 2017. The state-of-the-art academy houses eight football pitches, a multi-purpose sports hall, the youth academy and a clubhouse with office space on a 74-acre plot. FC Bayern Munich have been working since 2014 to help grow the level of the game in North America through its grassroots partnership with Global Premier Soccer, the club is sharing its coaching philosophy and curriculum with over 90,000 children and 6,000 coaches in 101 soccer clubs in over 22 states.
“This is a unique alliance between two historic teams at the forefront of youth development,” said FC Bayern Munich’s President of the Americas, Rudolf Vidal. “We are proud to announce this partnership with FC Dallas, who have pioneered professional soccer in the U.S. Working with FC Dallas at this elite level will complement the extensive grassroots infrastructure we have helped create over the last few years in North America.”
AURO DEAL DONE
Yesterday Rundown reported that Auro was being considered for a transfer to Toronto FC over the weekend and in a lightning quick update, he has joined the MLS Cup holders already. 22-year-old defender Auro has joined as discussed yesterday on loan with an option to buy from Brazilian club São Paulo FC.
“Auro is a young and versatile defender that will provide us with flexibility within our lineup, both on the left and right side,” TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a club statement. “We are pleased to bring him in on a loan deal with an option to buy for the future.”
In an interview with Sportsnet, TFC head coach Greg Vanney revealed that he believes Auro can play as either a right fullback or right winger, and that his addition – along with the recent signing of Dutch fullback Gregory van der Wiel – will allow the team to push Nicolas Hasler into a more central role.
According to Bezbatchenko, one or two more signings could still arrive at BMO Field. They open their CONCACAF Champions League next week against Anthony Hudson’s Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Good Park.
MORE FRIENDLIES ANNOUNCED
In addition to June’s friendly against Ireland (again, as mentioned in Rundown yesterday – what did that column NOT have?!), the US national team will be taking on Paraguay on March 27 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
The US will then head across to the Republic of Ireland to take on the hosts in Dublin at Aviva Stadium as mentioned on June 2nd, before playing against France in Lyon on June 9th.
Newly-elected USSF president Carlos Cordeiro told Fox Sports that he would like to have a general manager in place before hiring a permanent head coach. Cordeiro added that the search to fill the GM position has already begun, and that he hopes to have that person in place before the start of summer.
ANOTHER CAMEROON STAR FOR MINNESOTA
One month after signing attacker Frantz Pangop, Minnesota United have strengthened its defence with the acquisition of Cameroon international defender Bertrand Owundi Eko’o on a free transfer from Rainbow FC.
24-year-old Owundi Eko’o will occupy an international roster spot and will join the Loons pending receipt of his P1 Visa and ITC. He is a left-sided defender who stands at an intimidating 6-foot-2.
“The thing we’ve tried to do this offseason is bring in some younger players who we feel have a chance of progressing and being big pieces for us moving forward,” MNUFC head coach Adrian Heath said in a club statement. “For what we’ve got these kids for salary-wise, what we’ve had to give up, we think we’ve done really well. We’re excited about what we’ve got with him and Pangop. We felt it wasn’t a gamble, but an opportunity to bring in two young pieces for not a lot of financial output that we think have got huge upside.”
A small Cameroonian club, Rainbow FC has served as a gateway to MLS for other players in the past, including former Montreal Impact defender Ambroise Oyongo, Eric Ayuk of the Philadelphia Union and the Seattle Sounders’ Nouhou Tolo.
“As we continue to build on the core of our roster for the future we have added another great young man to the group,” sporting director Manny Lagos said. “Owundi is a strong and powerful player with great athleticism who reads the game incredibly well. As a player with Cameroonian national team experience under his belt, we feel he has a lot of potential and can develop into a high-level defender in MLS.”
Any Other Business…
After three seasons and just one first-team appearance, Portland Timbers have waived defender Rennico Clarke… Landon Donovan will make an early return to the US as his Club Leon side visit San Jose Earthquakes for a preseason friendly on March 24th… According to a report out of Turkey, Montreal Impact have made an offer of nearly $2.5 million to acquire 20-year-old Mamadou Fofana from Turkish club Alanyaspor.