New England Soccer Today

Machado Making his Mark

FALL RIVER, Mass. – He may not have a pink mohawk or a life-sized wall decal in his likeness, but Dominik Machado is gunning to become the next homegrown talent to emerge from the Revolution Youth Academy.

After a pair of successful seasons with the U-16s, the creative midfielder didn’t skip a beat with the U-18s in their season-opening home set on Nov. 19 & 20. In the 18’s games against Met Oval and the New York Cosmos, the 16-year-old scored three goals – two of the game-winning variety –  and was a tour de force for the Revolution attack.

Granted, he may not have the same marquee billing as his former U-16s teammate, Diego Fagundez. But, like Fagundez, there is one thing the Attleboro, Mass. native clearly isn’t lacking.

“I think (having) confidence is a big thing,” said Machado shortly after he scored the game-winner against Met Oval. “If you keep thinking about a bad pass or shot, you’ll never move past it and play well.”

That attitude has served Machado well. In his first two seasons with the 16s, Machado didn’t post eye-popping numbers (five goals in 52 games). While Fagundez was racking up goals, Machado quietly emerged as a prospect. With an attacking instinct, smart off the ball runs, and a noticeable calm with the ball at his feet, it was his play – rather than his stats – that caught the attention of his coaches.

“He’s like a waterbug out there,” said Revolution U-18 head coach John Frederick. “He really moves around a lot out there, trying to create seams for the backs to play into him and he plays the ball so quickly to other guys and looks to get it back.”

Another coach who Machado caught the eye of was former Revolution manager Steve Nicol. During the summer, Machado was called up five times for Reserve League action and rewarded Nicol’s faith by scoring a goal – the first goal ever scored by an Academy player with the first team –  against Toronto on June 21st, and added an assist against Philadelphia a month later.

According to Frederick, Machado’s inclusion on the first team roster in Reserve League action, as well as weekly training during the summer, undoubtedly boosted the teenager’s form. And last weekend’s performances were proof positive of that.

“You see how confident he is,” said Frederick. “Playing with professionals, whether it’s in training or with the reserves, I think gives a kid his age confidence. He held his own in those games and did very well.”

It would have been easy to get carried away with the success he saw against tougher competition. But Machado said that his cameos with the Reserves were lessons to be learned rather than boosts to the ego.

“It was challenging (but) playing with the first team made me a better player physically and mentally,” said Machado. “Learning from them makes it easier for me out here (with the U-18s).”

And it’s shown. While he’s one of the youngest players on the 18s, Machado – who turns 17 next month – has flashed his soccer I.Q. by offering support to his teammates, putting himself in good positions, and following up every shot in frame, anxious to pounce on a loose rebound.

“I think he’s going to be a very important player for us this year,” said Frederick. “It’s been a great start (to the season) for him. I’m really excited for him. He’s a great kid, and I certainly expect big things from him this year.”

Even though it may be too early to award him a spot on the Development Academy’s first team, Machado hasn’t wasted any chances tearing up the competition this season. And while his performances at the Academy and first team levels may warrant serious consideration for the Revolution’s next Homegrown Player signing, Machado is happy to simply go about his business and seize the opportunities that come his way.

“I just want to keep playing with the first team,” said Machado. “But I also want to keep playing here (with the Academy). I’m not asking for anything else. I just want to keep playing here and (continue to) do my thing.”

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