Dynamo camps going global

Players from around the world attend elite camps looking for opportunity


Photo Credit: 
Michael Fasching / Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo winter camps culminated last week with the Dynamo
Elite and Junior Elite camps presented by Statoil. While the usual contingent
of players from the Houston area graced the field at Delmar Stadium, others
traveled hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to catch the eye of the Houston
Dynamo coaching staff.

One such player was Baran Kilic. The 18-year-old midfielder
from Darmstadt, Germany, traveled to Houston with his friend, Sandro
Falcone, hoping to impress the coaches at the Dynamo Elite Camp.

“We like to watch MLS in Germany,” Kilic said. “We see
[David] Beckham and [Thierry] Henry on TV and it’s fun to watch. The
Houston Dynamo are a great club and we want to come play here.”

Director of Youth Development James Clarkson was pleased
with the turnout at both camps and was pleasantly surprised at the number of
international kids in attendance.

“Normally we get kids
from the Houston area and throughout Texas at our camps and occasionally we’ll get a few kids
who drive up from Mexico," he said. "This is the first year
where we saw a real influx of talent from around the

Aside from Kilic and Falcone, players from Venezuela, South
Africa, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and cities across the United States were in
attendance last week. Venezuelan natives Jose Cubillan and Hender Sanchez said the clubs
in Venezuela do not have open tryouts the way the Dynamo and other MLS clubs
do. In Venezuela you are either recommended by other coaches or you go

“Winning two MLS Cups in their first two years, it brought a
lot of attention to the Dynamo and proved they are a serious soccer club,”
Cubillan said. “Over the past few days, I have learned a lot about the game.
The culture here is completely different but I am enjoying it.”

Sanchez spent four months training with Aragua FC, a
first division soccer club in Maracay, Venezuela and now hopes to ply his trade
in MLS.

“This is a great opportunity for me, to show the Dynamo
coaches what I can do. I came here to knock on the door of MLS and hopefully
someone will open it for me.”

Clarkson hopes this is the just the beginning for the
Dynamo, as they continue their mission to become a global soccer brand.

“The Dynamo front
office, along with head coach Dominic Kinnear and his coaching staff, have
already established this club as one of the top clubs in MLS. In the States, we
have a strong, recognizable brand but now we are seeing that brand expand
outside of the country and there is no limit to where it can reach. Dynamo Cocula will be hosting tryouts in Guadalajara, January 17-18, and we are in the final stages of establishing satellite programs in Africa. Hopefully we
can continue to use this network and find talent that will help the first team
going forward.”