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FC Dallas youth team to help farm young talent in West Texas

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ABILENE, TX - With any startup organization you identify the need, and in this case it is a select youth soccer team for Abilene.

Wes Hamilton, the FC Dallas youth team coordinator in Abilene, wanted to give his daughters and other aspiring soccer players the platform to launch into the sport and play at the highest level.

"I wanted her to have that opportunity," Hamilton said., "We were able to make contact with the guys in West Texas. So we knew we were able to develop rapidly with [FC Dallas], they had it all together, and with the FC Dallas name behind them that it was going to be good."

FC Dallas, the professional soccer team, has decided to "home grow" as many kids as possible. Essentially put them on a fast track, under the FC name, to play on competitive teams from youth leagues to the pros.

But U-12 Head Coach Jacey Withrow sees more than one benefit to carrying the FC Dallas name.

"it's huge to have a name behind you," Withrow said. "The hope is for these girls is if they want to play in college then they have the resources. We at least provided that.

But it's also putting Abilene soccer players on the map.

Withrow, an ACU graduate and college soccer player, knows the pressure of getting exposure and getting seen by scouts at a young age,

"It just gets power behind the name where a coach will want to at least look at you," Withrow said. "It's hard to get seen in Abilene so the name behind it is so crucial."

The FC Dallas select program is one of 25 across the country to be named among the most elite girls development "academy" programs for U.S. soccer.

"You have the process to be able to work up to their teenage academy program, and their academy program you actually turn pro with them," Hamilton said.

For the U12 girls team, playing at the professional level is a long way away, but Hamilton and Withrow both hope that with a growing program these young athletes will turn dreams and passion into a future reality.

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