Young, flashy, and talented — Jesus Ferreira and Paxton Pomykal are perfect examples of the future of US soccer. Despite not even being old enough to vote, both are already making a name for themselves on FC Dallas. But this is only the beginning for both players. With their skills, mindsets, and dedication, no goal is out of reach.
Soccer has been a part of Jesus Ferreira’s life since the day he was born. His father, David, had a long and illustrious professional career that took him and his family all across the globe. “Growing up, we would travel to so many different countries because of his job,” Jesus explained. “It was difficult at times — trying to adapt to the languages, food, and atmosphere.”
In 2009, the family made another move as David got loaned to FC Dallas. He would play for the squad until 2013, winning a league MVP award along the way. During that time, Jesus reached the next level in his own game, as he turned heads in the FC Dallas youth system with his fiery attacking play style.
By 2013, Jesus had made FC Dallas’ renowned U16 Academy team, where he would go on to score 48 goals in 50 starts before being called up to the MLS squad on November 17, 2016. It was a huge moment in his young career made even sweeter because it gave him the chance to follow in his dad’s footsteps. “Having a role model like my dad was so important,” he said. “Only good things came from watching what he was doing and getting his advice.”
But make no mistake: While the name on the back of the jersey may be the same, Jesus is his own unique player. “I think I take a lot more risks than my dad,” he said. “When my dad got the ball, he would play it through and when I get the ball, I just attack and go at it.”
While Jesus was traveling all over the world, Paxton Pomykal was staying put. “Dallas is my home,” he said. “I was born and raised here; my family has lived in the same house for 17 years. There’s no place I’d rather be.”
His love for the city soon led to a love of soccer and, of course, his local team. “Growing up, I was a huge FC Dallas fan,” Paxton said. “I went to a ton of their games and No. 19, Bobby Rhine, was a big player for the club and a huge hero of mine.”
It wasn’t long before he started creating his own soccer legacy, shining in youth circuits with his sterling midfield play. “I was probably about 11 or 12 when I won a big skills competition and started to think, ‘Hey, maybe I could make a career out of soccer,’” he said. And, just like his soon-to-be teammate and friend, Jesus, his parents were a crucial part of his path.
“My family has always been really supportive of me,” Paxton said. “They trust me to make the right decisions and want what’s best for me. So no matter what I do, they are 100 percent behind me.”
Paxton stood out quickly once he got his chance with the FC Dallas Academy squad and on September 9, 2016, the homegrown athlete got the call every kid dreams of: he was heading to the pro squad. He knew he had the skills, smarts, and talent to succeed — he just needed to choose his jersey number.
The lifelong FC Dallas fan knew there was one number that stood above all in team history: no. 19 that his hero, Rhine, wore. Rhine had tragically died in 2011 and no one had worn his number for years. But Paxton saw the power and meaning in that jersey.
“I didn’t want to step over any boundaries,” he explained. “It was about making that incredible Rhine legacy live on. I got the blessing of the Rhine family, friends, teammates… It was all one big ‘Yes.’ It’s such an honor to wear it.”
And now, with skills, experiences, and smarts beyond their years, the two talented young soccer players are joining forces at FC Dallas. With so much career ahead of them, who knows what the future will bring. US Men’s National Team soccer? Premier League play? The sky’s the limit. Whatever happens from here on out, it’s safe to say that both players are ready for any challenge.