Clubs are increasingly using their reserve teams as scouting arms, bringing in potential talents on loan in order to provide what amount to extended trials. The process appears mutually beneficial, as the player typically enjoys a different training environment with a longer and closer opportunity to make an impression. Dante Sealy is currently with Jong PSV in the second tier of Dutch soccer. The 19-year-old attacker has put in strong performances with the club, in year two of his temporary contract.
WATCH ▶️ Dante Sealy curls one into the top left corner to earn Jong PSV a 2-2 draw with Jong Roda JC.pic.twitter.com/8dYon8Px8Q— Soca Warriors (@socawarriors) October 16, 2021
Sealy was born in Brooklyn, New York and joined the FC Dallas youth set-up in 2012. The attacker scored 51 goals in 55 Development Academy matches, playing up an age group with the U-17 team and being named a Youth All-American by the United Soccer Coaches. At the age of 15, he signed a Homegrown contract with the club in February of 2019, the second-youngest player in the Hoops’ history.
The son of former professional player Scott, the younger Sealy began his career with the club’s reserve side, North Texas SC, in USL League One. In his first season, he contributed one goal and three assists in 19 appearances, helping claim the regular season and playoff titles. Big D Soccer described him as “holding his own against adults” but also “displaying a mental, technical, and physical immaturity that ended up keeping him on the bench.” Chasing a Cup echoed the criticism, describing him as struggling with consistency while stating that the winger is “by far the best in the 2003 player pool and an absolute force at the youth international level.” During the summer, Paris Saint-Germain brought him in for training.
The next season, Sealy appeared in five matches during the abbreviated schedule and regularly featured on the bench. The pandemic delayed his progression, but there was interest from European clubs including Schalke. He likely would have received more on-field experience, but movement between reserve and senior squads was restricted due to the ongoing pandemic.
During the offseason, Sealy trained at Bayern Munich with five of his teammates. In 2021, he played in six MLS matches and registered an assist in a 4-1 win over the Portland Timbers, being listed as a prospect to watch. However, the teenager appeared to have “stalled and was unable to break through,” while being too talented to continue competing with North Texas.
In August of 2021 following several training stints, Sealy joined Jong PSV, the reserve side of PSV Eindhoven, on a two-year loan with an option to buy. Dallas extended his contract through 2024, with the ability to add the 2025 and 2026 seasons, similar to Justin Che’s long-term deal. “For me, it is a big advantage that I had already completed a number of internships at [the club] before my transfer,” he shared with ED. “I already knew the players and felt at home here.”
During his first season with the Boeren (Farmers), Sealy made 27 appearances in the second-tier Eerste Divisie and scored five goals. He enjoyed a fast start to his time in the Netherlands, receiving immediate opportunities while teammates struggled with injuries. His standout performance came in an October fixture against Almere City, netting a hat trick in the 5-3 victory.
After an upbeat preseason, Sealy remained with Jong PSV and, thus far, has appeared in all but one match over the course of the league schedule. He found the back of the net in a recent 4-2 defeat to table leaders PEC Zwolle. While continuing to display his high potential, there is a lack of consistent standout performances. However, the 19-year-old has plenty of time to prove himself and increase production.
“It took me a little bit to get adjusted – with the playing style, the players, [and] the coaches,” Sealy told American Soccer Now in 2021. “But I’ve been doing well and I think I’ve found a bit of a rhythm. I’ve just been trying to take that and run with it. Being productive is the main thing to staying on the field – just consistency.”
As an international, Sealy has been a fixture with the United States program at the youth level, impressing with the U-14, U-16, U-17, and U-20 teams. His accolades include a third-place finish at the Torneo delle Nazioni in 2018 and spearheading a title run at the 2019 Nike Friendlies, netting a brace in the deciding fixture of the latter competition. Despite earning an invitation to train with the senior squad, he was absent from the rosters for various youth CONCACAF Championships and World Cups. A dual national, the teenager is also eligible for Trinidad and Tobago, for which his father earned 25 caps, in addition to the USMNT.
Standing around 6’ and highly athletic, Sealy is primarily a left-footed winger who can also line up at striker. He has a quick first step and is a strong dribbler, preferring to cut inside and finish. His runs are intelligent with the ability to play the proper pass, whether a cross, field switch, or neat slip behind the back line. In 2020, Big D Soccer described him as a “wide forward” instead of a traditional winger with a “stratospheric” ceiling, who is at his best when given space to run and provided with a bevy of chances. Weaknesses included an inconsistent first touch and issues with technique, both of which appear to have carried over to the Netherlands.
“Sealy is an aggressive attacker who can put pressure on defenders with his intelligent movement, passing flair, and hunger for the ball,” wrote Patrick Redford for Defector. “Something that stands out watching him is that he’s pretty clearly coming up with higher-level ideas than his competitors, though his technique can’t always realize his vision. He will, say, create nice little one-two opportunities around the box or find opportunities for unseen cutbacks without always having the precision to make them as dangerous as they could be… His natural movement and intelligence off the ball are probably harder skills to teach.”
The teenager’s talent is uncontested, waiting for a breakthrough to regularly be unleashed at the professional level. Sealy has less than a year left on his contract with Jong PSV, after which he could stay in Europe or return to Dallas. With either result, the teenage attacker will have grown as a player and dealt with the challenges of moving abroad while encountering different tactical styles and the struggles of competing at a big club.