Canetti's Corner - January 21, 2011

Recap of rookie acquisitions; stadium groundbreaking could come soon

HOU_20110119_Bruin_Sarkodie_Kinnear_Canetti

Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

Welcome to edition No. 26 of my blog on HoustonDynamo.com.

Complete Canetti's Corner Archive

This is my first blog in 2011, so Happy New Year to everyone!

It's
hard to believe, but the season is nearly upon us. Preseason camp opens
next week, and we are less than nine weeks from opening day (Saturday,
March 19). We have been busy, and there is still a lot of work to be done before the season kicks off.

We to
hope to nail down a date for the stadium groundbreaking very soon. There
are a few final pieces that need to come together, but I expect that
things can get done within weeks. Once they do, then we'll quickly move
forward with a ceremony and then construction. Fans will be invited to
attend the groundbreaking ceremony, so please stay tuned for details. A grand opening in April of 2012 remains the
target and is realistic.

We are
pleased with the progress we have made in improving the team this
off-season. Last week's MLS SuperDraft was part of it. We came away with
two very talented players in Kofi Sarkodie (Akron) and Will Bruin
(Indiana). These players were rated high on our draft board, and we
stuck to our plan of selecting the best available talent. Sarkodie was
projected to be a top pick, and when he was still available at No. 7, it
was an easy selection for Dom and the staff. There was a clear
consensus at the draft table that he was the guy. When the chance came
to trade for the No. 11 pick and get Bruin, we were compelled to act on
it.

Both players have the chance to make an impact in their rookie seasons. We look forward to watching their progress this year. I
think the coaching staff did a great job in scouting the college scene,
and they were particularly thorough at the MLS Player Combine and well prepared for
the draft.

As
reported, our home-grown players, Josue Soto (SMU) and Alex Dixon
(North Carolina) signed this week. They will join the club when we open
camp next week. Congratulations to these fine young men who came up
through our Academy program under James Clarkson. We look forward to
their growth and contributions. Overall, I couldn't be more pleased with our very impressive class of rookie players.

As we
approach camp, there are still more roster spots to fill. It's possible
that we may add a player before camp opens, but we are more likely to
make new signings during the preseason window. We are working on
details to bring a number of players in on trial. It's an interesting
group that Dom and the staff will get a first-hand look at. We'll
provide updates on our website as trialists are confirmed.

Our current roster is as follows:

FORWARDS (4)
Bruin, Ching, Garey, Weaver

MIDFIELDERS (9)
Ashe, Cameron, Clark, Cruz, Davis, Dixon, Navas Cobo, Palmer, Soto

DEFENDERS (7)
Boswell, Chabala, Freeman, Graye, Hainault, Robinson, Sarkodie

GOALKEEPERS (2)
Deric, Hall

I
often get asked if we are feeling pressure to sign a designated player.
The answer is no. We are interested in signing a DP and aggressively
exploring opportunities, but we do not see the DP as the single answer
to winning a title. It's a collection of good players that make a team.
We will make a DP signing if and when the right player becomes
available. As I've said all along, we believe such a signing is more
realistic during the summer window. We'll see what happens ...

We
have officially identified early April as the target for opening the Houston Amateur Sports Park
training complex. Construction is progressing quite well, with the first sod laid on the Dynamo training field this week.

I hope this gives you a good overview of things. We are
happy with the progress we have made to this point, excited about the
upcoming season, and focused on the hard work ahead. We'll keep things
going in the positive direction.

In the
meantime, I hope you can continue to support the team by having season
tickets (full or partial plans), and spreading the word about our
product and experience to your friends, co-workers, etc. Let's keep the
momentum going and grow our sport and club.

As always, feel free to email me with questions or comments at ccanetti@houstondynamo.com.