This one hurts a little. It’s no surprise that our young phenom is leaving FC Dallas for International play. We thought he’d be gone the second the season ended really. Then the team said he’s staying. Then, he’s not. Ahhhh, the roller coaster that is sports player movement.
If you are wondering why this is such big news (since face it players come and go almost daily around here), check out his career timeline below and not that this is the largest transfer fee received in FCD history. Here’s the official word from FC Dallas on the historic move.
FC Dallas Transfers Homegrown Ricardo Pepi to FC Augsburg
FC Dallas has reached a transfer agreement with FC Augsburg of Germany’s Bundesliga for Homegrown forward Ricardo Pepi. The move is the largest transfer in FC Dallas history for a player.
“We are proud of what Ricardo Pepi has accomplished during his time in our organization,” said FC Dallas President Dan Hunt. “He truly represents the FC Dallas pathway: coming from our affiliate in El Paso, playing in the Academy, becoming the first signing in the history of North Texas SC and then making his debut with the first team. We’re happy for Ricardo and his family and look forward to watching him realize his dream of playing in one of the most prestigious leagues in the world.”
“An opportunity like this is something I have worked my entire life to accomplish,” said Pepi. “This is truly a dream realized. I understand that I have to keep pushing, training and growing. I am grateful to the FC Dallas organization for helping me achieve this goal. I will always have a special place in my heart for FC Dallas and our amazing fans. Thank you for supporting me. I will continue to make you proud.”
Pepi, who will turn 19 on January 9, was FC Dallas’ leading scorer in 2021 with 13 goals in 31 appearances, including a career-high 24 starts. He scored his first career hat trick against the LA Galaxy on July 24 and netted a brace twice in matches against New England and Austin FC. He earned three MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week honors, was named MLS Player of the Week twice, named to the 2021 MLS All-Star Team and earned MLS Young Player of the Year honors for the 2021 season.
Pepi made his U.S. Men’s National Team debut in 2021 during the September World Cup Qualifier against Honduras. In seven appearances, Pepi netted three goals and three assists. On Dec. 18, 2021, Pepi was voted 2021 U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year.
FC DALLAS HOMEGROWN RICARDO PEPI CAREER TIMELINE
- Signs with FC Dallas Academy in 2016, coming from the club’s youth affiliate in El Paso. During the 2016-17 Academy season, he appeared in 15 games and scored 18 goals for U-13 Academy team and scored 12 goals in 13 appearances for the U-14 Academy. While with the U-16s, he appeared in 14 games and scored five goals. He scored a total of 19 goals in eight games for the U-16/17 squad in 2018-19, the nation’s best goals-per-game rate.
- Signs with North Texas SC on December 6, 2018. He makes his North Texas SC debut in the inaugural match for the club on March 30, 2019 and scores his first professional hat trick.
- Signs with FC Dallas on a short-term loan ahead of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match on June 11, 2019. He makes his FC Dallas debut on June 12, 2019 and records his first FC Dallas assist.
- Signs as the 26th Homegrown in FC Dallas history on June 21, 2019 at the age of 16 years and 163 days old. He makes his MLS debut after subbing in the 84th minute against Toronto FC on June 22, 2019.
- Scores his first MLS goal, a game-tying goal in stoppage time, on March 7, 2020 against Montreal at Toyota Stadium.
- Starts in his first MLS match on August 29, 2020 against Minnesota United FC at Toyota Stadium. Pepi recorded an assist in the 3-1 win.
- Scores his first MLS Cup Playoff goal in stoppage time against the Portland Timbers to send FC Dallas to penalty kick shootout on November 22, 2020. FC Dallas advances to the next round after beating Portland 8-7 in penalties. He becomes the youngest player in FC Dallas postseason history (third youngest in MLS Cup playoffs history) to score a postseason goal at 17 years, 318 days old. He also becomes the youngest to make his MLS postseason debut for the club.
- Scores first MLS brace in 2-1 win against New England Revolution on June 27, 2021 at Toyota Stadium.
- Scores first MLS hat trick in 4-1 win against LA Galaxy on July 24, 2021 at Toyota Stadium. At 18 years and 196 days, Ricardo Pepi becomes the youngest player in MLS and FC Dallas history to score a hat trick.
- He is named to the 2021 MLS All-Star Game and 2021 MLS All-Star Skills Challenge that was held on August 24 in Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.
- Earns first call up to the U.S. Men’s National Team on August 26, 2021.
- Scores the game-winning goal in his USMNT debut on September 8, 2021 vs. Honduras in a World Cup Qualifier 18 years and 242 days old.
- Scores his first international brace in the 2-0 win against Jamaica on October 7, 2021 at Q2 Stadium in Austin, TX.
- Tops MLSsoccer.com’s annual 22 Under 22 list on October 12, 2021.
- Earns the MLS Young Player of the Year award on November 18, 2021.
- Earns the U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year award on December 18, 2021.