Dixon happy to be back home

With family on hand, 20-year-old ready to play for hometown club

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Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

Alex Dixon has fond memories wearing the color orange. His
first soccer team, the Alief Squirrels, wore orange and served as his
introduction to the game of soccer. 16 years later, Dixon will don a new orange kit, and although
the game is still the same, the stakes are much higher.

After three years at
the University of North Carolina, the Bay City native and graduate of Atascocita High School in Humble will have the
opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to represent his hometown, as a member of
the Houston Dynamo.

READ: Dynamo sign two Academy players

“It’s a dream come true,” Dixon said. “I love the fact that I am
playing for my hometown team, which is also such a good organization. It’s
great that my family is able to come watch me play, and I could not ask to be in
a better situation.” 

Growing up in Houston without
a professional soccer team, there were fewer opportunities for youth soccer
players to get noticed, Dixon
recalls. When the Dynamo moved to Houston from San Jose in December 2005, that
all changed. 

“When they came from San Jose,
I thought it was great having a professional soccer team here we could root
for,” Dixon
said. “When the Academy started up, it really opened a lot of players' eyes.
We knew that if we worked hard, we would have a chance to get recognized and
become a professional soccer player.” 

Recognition for Dixon,
however, was never hard to come by. As a 15-year-old, he was selected for the
U.S. U-17 residency program in Bradenton, Fla. While there, Dixon earned Parade and NSCAA High School All-America honors. Dixon
spent a year-and-a-half in Florida
and attributes much of his early development to his time spent there. 

“It was hard being only 15 and leaving my family to play
soccer full-time,” he said. “On the other hand, it was a great experience, and
practicing six times a week made me a better player.” 

Dixon’s mother, Marisa Parks, who was in attendance Wednesday to see
her son introduced as a Houston Dynamo player for the first time, was reluctant to let
Alex leave for Florida but knew it was the only way for him to pursue his
dream. 

“It was hard for both of us,” she said. “It was something
that I always said I wouldn’t let him do, but when it came up, I knew I had to
let him go because it was his dream. It was hard, and whenever he came home, we
cried, but each time it got a little easier.” 

After a year-and-a-half, Dixon
left the residency program and returned to Texas.
His first call was to James Clarkson, who had recently taken the position as
Director of Youth Development for the Houston Dynamo. Dixon
was eager to join Clarkson and the Dynamo
Academy because of the
opportunities that he knew would be available to him. 

“I played for the Academy for 10 months before going to
college,” Dixon
said. “It was great to be able to play with the best players in Houston. James and the
rest of his coaching staff taught me a lot, and I am grateful for all they have
done for me.” 

Although Dixon
credits the coaches in residency and the Academy with his development on the
field, he is quick to credit his mother for his development off it. 

“She was definitely a soccer mom growing up, driving four
hours to tournaments or 45 minutes for practices,” he said. “I owe her a lot.
My family has been with me through thick and thin. I credit them with helping
me as a person and a player. I think I have the best family in the world.” 

With the contract signing behind him, Dixon can now concentrate on his future:
improving his game and attempting to earn playing time in his rookie season. 

“My strongest attributes are my pace and my ability to go at
players and create for others,” he said. “I still need to work on my defensive
game, but I’m just ready to get started and learn from the other players on the
team. We have some great players on this team, with Brian Ching, Brad Davis, and
Geoff Cameron, and I’m ready to learn from them and get my career started on
the right foot.”