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Former academy player Christian Cappis trialing overseas

Christian Cappis on ball at the 2018 Dallas Cup. Mandatory Credit: FC Dallas

Christian Cappis is a fairly unknown name. A native of Houston, Texas, Cappis has played in the FC Dallas Academy during the last two seasons. However, he is garnering international interest, as evidenced by his latest trial with Bayern Munich.

Cappis is a midfielder who FC Dallas’ staff has been very high on. FCD coach Oscar Pareja describes him as No.8 who is versatile, has good size and is a very intelligent player. He played in 27 matches for the academy, scoring eight goals. His stats aren’t eye-popping but his feel for the game is evident with his constant awareness for his positioning on the pitch.

Cappis comes from the Houston Texans SC Academy and played there prior to joining FC Dallas. He caught the eye of FCD with his play as an opponent in the academy conference.

“It kind of started two academy seasons ago,” Cappis said. “We won the national title and so we obviously played good throughout that season. Since we played in the same conference as Dallas, we played against them and I played against Dallas growing up. They saw me and saw how I progressed and they talked to our coach Eric Quil and he and Luchi [Gonzalez] and Chris Hayden are really good friends with each other, so they called and asked if I could join them for the next season. Me and Eric talked and we both felt like it was time to move on to bigger and more professional environment because we kind of knew that that’s where I was going to be heading soon.”

The Texans academy team included centerback Chris Richards, FC Dallas’ homegrown who is on loan with Bayern Munich. The two made the decisions separately to come to Frisco, but knowing that they would have one another was an added bonus to the move.

Both would make great impressions at the club and it led to one signing to a homegrown deal. Richards signed and Dallas wanted to sign Cappis as well. Fernando Clavijo said that FCD had tried to sign him, but it was not allowed. 

FC Dallas believes that it should be able to sign Cappis based off the MLS rules and regulations where it states: “A club may sign a player to a contract without subjecting him to the MLS SuperDraft if the player has been a member of a club’s youth academy for at least one year and has met the necessary training and retention requirements. Players joining MLS through this mechanism are known as Homegrown Players.”

Cappis lived in Houston and is within the Houston Dynamo’s homegrown territory. The Dynamo confirmed that his “domestic homegrown rights” lie with the club.

Per FC Dallas, the league has ruled that his current situation does not satisfy the homegrown requirements for either club.

“Dallas was interested in me and with the homegrown rules that were in place within the league, they weren’t able to end up signing me in the end of all of it and it’s just something we had to deal with when looking at options professionally,” Cappis said.

With the tough luck, Cappis looked elsewhere. He continued to train and stay in shape while exploring other options. In came Bayern Munich, the European giants. Bayern has added MLS players Alphonso Davies and Richards and contacted Cappis for a trial, outside of the FC Dallas-Bayern partnership established earlier this year.

He was reunited with Richards. The two good friends spent time together before Richards went to the U.S. to play in the International Champions Cup.

“Somehow we end up everywhere together,” Cappis said. “It’s funny how it works. He signed and that was something Dallas has been promoting to young players. Players can go over to Bayern, Bayern players can come here. It’s really an incentive. Credit to him, he’s played really well. He worked his way there and ever since he’s got there, I don’t know if he’s even taken a wrong step. [He’s] playing at an amazing level right now.”

The trial itself was an eye-opening experience for the 18-year-old. Cappis was with the Under 23 squad, before being able to train with the first team for the last few days of his trial. The practices were intense and Cappis was forced to be at his best day-in and day-out.

“I think I played really well,” Cappis said. “The coaches there and staff there said I played really well. We’re kind of in ongoing talks right now with them and my agent. Just trying to figure out the situation and obviously, there’s other teams interested. We’re trying to figure out the best situation for me at this moment in time. This is the first step in one of my biggest steps in my career so far.”

When asked about differences between Bayern and his training in the U.S., Cappis pointed out the way teams play in terms of adjusting to the situation of the match. In his words, the style is to “just play soccer really.”

“They’re decisive,” Cappis said. “They know when the ball is coming and the situation where they’re at in the game. They know whether we need to go forward at that moment or we’re in a moment where we’re just in kind of control of the game and want to move the ball around. There’s no hesitation or hardly ever. When they make the decision, it’s the right decision. That’s something that in the US that you either have or you don’t have. It’s not really taught. A lot of times teams will play a very direct, they want to go forward, or they’ll say, we want to just keep the ball. It’s very rare that you’ll find a team in the youth system that can understand moments for both of those moments during the game.”

“No game is going to be the same, no moment in the game is going to be the same than the one before. A lot of times, we can get caught in track meet games where one team gets it and goes the other way and the other team gets it and goes the other way. Sometimes you get caught in games where one team passes the ball, 700 times in a game, with no real purpose to score or anything like that. There’s always an objective with the way they play, it’s clean, decisive, and fast. The game never slows down when it comes through the middle.”

Bayern won’t be the only team Cappis goes on trial with. He’s planning on more trials in Europe before deciding on the best situation for him professionally. When asked about signing with Dallas if ever eligible, Cappis left the door open.

“Obviously I’d take it into consideration because I enjoyed my time at Dallas,” Cappis said. “It was a great experience for me and I enjoyed it there but I’ve kind of told everybody that’s ever talked to me really that I wanted to play in Europe. Whether that was going through Dallas and then going to Europe or just going straight to Europe it wasn’t something I knew I could do yet but obviously if I wouldn’t just throw it to the side and say ‘It’s MLS I don’t want to come here.’ It’s obviously a great organization. They’re obviously a really good team in the league. Oscar Pareja and the staff really believe in the young players. They give them playing time they earn in practice, so there’s nothing negative about Dallas.”

Cappis sees a lot of similarities between himself and Weston McKennie, an American player. McKennie played in the FCD academy before moving to Schalke FC in the Bundesliga. McKennie also patrols the midfield. He has helped pave the way for youngsters like Cappis, who are eyeing a chance in Europe.

With all the adversity Cappis has faced regarding his status in MLS, he hasn’t let that stop him. He wants to continue pushing on and accomplishing his dream. A dream that has plenty of risks but lots of rewards.

“Don’t let anything stop you from getting what you want,” Cappis said. “Obviously, not being able to sign in Dallas and going to Europe is a big risk. Deciding not to go to college … these are all risks I’ve decided to take and a lot of people are like, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ If you really want it, you can’t let anyone or any decisions stop you from that”

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