Jesus Ferreira had a breakout 2022 season, matching many franchise and MLS records, and was one of the key players behind FC Dallas’ return to Major League Soccer playoff competition.
On Tuesday, the league announced that Ferreira, 21, had been named the Young Player of the Year for 2022, making it the second consecutive year that an FC Dallas player has been awarded the honor. Ricardo Pepi was named YPOY in 2021.
Ferreira scored 18 goals in 2022, tying the FC Dallas franchise record with Kenny Cooper (2008) and Jason Kreis (1999), placing the young star in competition for the Audi Golden Boot award given to the player who scores the most goals.
Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar eventually secured the honor, with Ferreira placing third behind a two-way tie for second.
“Jesus is a player that always is pushing, and I think I remember when he got to 10 [goals], and I talked with him and said, now another 10,” said head coach Nico Estevez in September.
“In these two games that he had to be the captain, I’ve seen him with a different mentality and a spirit. He has carried the team. He has shown a lot of mentality with his effort. And I think he’s a complete player.”
Not to say that the young forward is perfect. “He’s getting in a spot where if we keep working hard with him, he will be a player that will leave here a lot of good memories for the club,” Estevez said.
In addition to his efforts with FC Dallas, the team player who enjoys seeing others succeed was invited to join the United States Men’s National Team this season. After scoring five goals in two games — the most goals by any player on the team so far this year — he will play for USMNT in the World Cup 2022 in Qatar following the MLS playoffs.
Throughout the 2022 season, Ferreira developed a strong connection with fellow forward Paul Arriola, forming a striking was among the best in the league. Arriola earned 10 goals and seven assists with FC Dallas after several successful seasons with the New England Revolution.
“I definitely couldn’t have done it without him [Ferreira],” Arriola said on July 14 after scoring his career-high eighth goal of the season. “He was a key part of me coming to Dallas, and I’m just really happy for both of us to enjoy the experience together.”
At 27, Arriola has been both a teammate and a leader for the young Dallas star who first joined the FC Dallas Academy at only 8 years old and got his first start for the club at 16. Ferreira was the youngest player for FC Dallas to start a match.
Ferreira became the second player in MLS history to score more than 30 goals and contribute at least 20 assists before the age of 22. He is already third all-time in goals for FC Dallas, with 36.
On March 19, Ferreira scored a hat trick against the Portland Timbers, with all three scores occurring within 10 minutes of game time. He is the tenth player in MLS history to accomplish the feat.
Ferreira will be a key part of the FC Dallas offense when they take the field against Austin FC in the Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday, marking the deepest run into the playoffs the team has made since 2017.