Sports | September 23, 2017 5:00 am

Future of NBA Player Development Could Be FC Dallas’ Soccer Academy

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he's been lobbying for a player development academy.

The premier facility for U.S. professional athlete development isn’t some ballpark in the Dominican Republic or hockey rink in the middle of nowhere Canada. It’s actually a soccer academy in Dallas, Texas.

Per The Ringer, Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas spends more money on player development than any other professional sports franchise. That includes an academy with 120 kids, in age groups under 12 and under 19, siphoned from all the top talent at the high school and elementary school levels. The team has produced nine homegrown players.

At least one NBA owner has seen the light.

As Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told The Ringer, “I think [FC Dallas] is doing it right. That is our future,” also bad-mounting the Amateur Athletic Union, which has been a highly criticized answer to the soccer academy for the NBA, among other sports.

Cuban says he’s been lobbying for an FC Dallas–like academy for a decade. “The idea is to get kids and families excited about basketball and the Mavs, and to help kids of all skill levels get better training without some of the extraneous interference.”