FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas announced on Tuesday it had signed North Texas Soccer Club forward Ricardo Pepi as its 26th Homegrown Player after the 16-year-old opened his first professional season in outstanding fashion in USL League One.
Pepi recorded his first FC Dallas assist while on a short-term loan for the club in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round match against the USL Championship’s OKC Energy FC last Wednesday night. His seven goals currently lead USL League One, with Pepi having also etched his name in the league’s record book as the first player to record a hat trick in League One history on his professional debut on March 31 against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC.
Pepi first joined to the FCD Academy in 2016 from the club’s youth affiliate in his native 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. For the 2017-2018 season, Pepi moved up to the U-16s, where he appeared in 14 games and scored five goals.
Eligible for both the U.S. and Mexico National Teams, he represented the United States and scored three goals in the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship which helped the U.S. reach the final and qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup this October in Brazil.
Pepi is the 26th Academy-product signed to a professional contract by the FC Dallas organization and the first to utilize the new USL League One development pathway when he signed with North Texas SC on Dec. 6, 2018. At 16 years and 160 days old, Pepi is the fourth-youngest player to sign with FC Dallas behind Bryan Reynolds, Dante Sealy and Jesus Ferreira.