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Volume 21 No. 23
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Bayern, Dallas sign talent development deal

Bayern Munich and FC Dallas have signed a comprehensive player development partnership, the first unaffiliated European and MLS clubs to do so.

 

The partnership, which will be formally unveiled this week, will see the two clubs come together to exchange talent, allowing young players to work with coaches and scouts from both organizations in either country. The goal for FC Dallas is clear — to improve its talent base.

 

In December, three players from FC Dallas traveled to Munich to take part in a 10-day training camp alongside Bayern Munich academy players. Coaches will also look to exchange expertise, as well as organize matches between youth players from each club in the two countries.

 

FC Dallas sees relationship with Bayern Munich as a way to improve its player talent.
Photo: Getty Images

While City Football Group and Red Bull have built similar pipelines between their ownership of European and international clubs and their stakes in their respective MLS clubs — New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls — no other MLS club has an expansive player development partnership with a European club.

 

There is no financial component of the deal, according to both sides, and while there is no specific commercial initiative attached to it either, FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said there is room for the partnership to evolve.

 

Hunt said the deal is set for a defined number of years with options to extend it, but he declined to comment on the details.

 

“The agreement wasn’t based on ‘just give us your partner list,’” Hunt said. “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.”

 

Discussions around a potential partnership date back several years to 2014, when Bayern Munich first opened its office in New York, becoming the first European club to do so. Talks intensified last year at the Super Bowl in Houston, where Bayern Munich President of the Americas Rudolf Vidal and Clark and Dan Hunt discussed the idea. Both of the Hunts traveled to Munich last week to visit the club and its offices, including the Bayern Campus, a 74-acre academy that opened in August 2017, as well as attend the Bayern-Schalke 04 match at Allianz Arena.

 

Dan Hunt said that while Hunt Sports Group has looked at international soccer club ownership opportunities in the past, it has passed them up as it would be unable to operate them locally. However, it was interested in forging a partnership with someone at a global level who could aid Hunt Sports Group in developing players at FC Dallas, which has become the club’s calling card in MLS. To date, 20 academy players have signed to play for FC Dallas, the highest number in MLS.

 

Bayern Munich has placed an emphasis on supporting youth soccer since its arrival in the U.S., including a partnership with Global Premier Soccer, which it extended in 2017. The club shares its coaching philosophy and curriculum through the organization, which to date is used at more than 101 soccer clubs in over 22 states, reaching more than 90,000 youth players.

 

“It is important for us to help the sport continue to grow and help develop players and do things at the grassroots level,” Vidal said. “Now we’re going to the next step and working at this elite level and will be able to help these young players on the pathway to professional football.”