Tanner Tessmann has thanked FC Dallas following his recent move to Serie A side Venezia, saying the club helped him define his 'dreams and goals'.
The 19-year-old midfield prospect joined the Dallas academy - responsible for developing the likes of Weston McKennie, Chris Richards and Reggie Cannon - five years ago, working his way up the ranks before making his first-team debut last season.
Tessmann went on to make 30 senior appearances for the Texas side across all competitions, impressing so much so that newly-promoted Serie A outfit Venezia parted with $4m plus add-ons to bring him to Italy.
In an interview with Venezia's official website, Tessmann - who picked up his first senior cap for the United States in January - credited Dallas for helping shape his goals during his formative years at the club, before which he admits he hadn't even heard of Major League Soccer.
"I don’t think I really understood what my dreams and goals were until I went to FC Dallas," said Tessmann. "When I was 12 or 13, I didn’t know what MLS was. I didn’t know Dallas had a team. I didn’t know anything. I was playing soccer and wanted to reach the highest level, obviously, as every kid does, but I didn’t understand what it meant to do that.
"When I went to FC Dallas and I was surrounded by people chasing the same thing as me, it only made me see things clearer. By 14 or 15, I started to believe it would happen."
Tessmann went on to say his move across the Atlantic was 'perfect' for both him and his new club, with the opportunity to play in one of Europe's top five leagues just too good to turn down at such a young age.
"A lot of Americans want to get to Europe and play in the top five leagues in the world, so when the opportunity came, I had to take it," he added. "This is the moment Venezia got promoted to Serie A and it’s a moment in my career when I’m ready to take the next step and try to reach my full potential.
"Venice is a beautiful city, the people are amazing, the food is amazing. When it all worked out, it was perfect for both parties."
Tessmann's Italian adventure officially begins on Sunday, 15 August , with a Coppa Italia first-round clash against SPAL before Venezia start their Serie A campaign a week later away at Napoli.