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FRISCO -- With a name like Victor Ulloa, it's a good thing he's a soccer player.

But Ulloa almost wasn't a soccer player -- at least not here. FC Dallas didn't renew his rookie contract after the 2013 season.

'I was in Mexico on a trial,' said Ulloa, thinking back to his off-season. 'It looked like I was going to be on a team down there, but things opened up here, and I came back home.'

Oscar Pareja became the head coach of FC Dallas in January and invited the Wylie native to training camp. Ulloa made the team, and since May 10, has played every minute of every game.

'If you had told me in February that Victor would have started this many games consistently, I would have predicted that that meant the team had a ton of injuries and was having a miserable season,' said Peter Welpton, a North Texas soccer expert.

Instead, Ulloa has started 14 straight games for the third-place team in the Western Conference.

Ulloa played in the FC Dallas Academy program, and was one of the first home-grown players to sign a pro contract here in 2010. He didn't play much, until his old academy coach became the head coach of FC Dallas.

'We believe in this, he's part of our home-grown program,' Pareja said. 'And he was the captain for the program for three years, and that means a lot. It was not given for free, that role.'

'I had a quote to myself - even after all those tough years that I didn't get any playing time - that you can bend me, but you're not going to break me,' Ulloa said. 'And that was just the kind of attitude I came to practice with every day.'

After signing his first pro contract in July 2010, Ulloa played in exactly one game in three-and-a-half seasons. Those years were tough on him, and his mom.

'Whatever he wants to do, I think he can do it,' said Ulloa's mother, Anahi. 'He can make it.'

FC Dallas continues to climb in the standings, and Victor Ulloa continues to make a name for himself.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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