Dynamo kick off 2011 preseason

Wet fields aside, Dynamo ready to put 2010 behind them

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Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

Amid rain and wind, Houston Dynamo players and coaching
staff braved the elements Monday morning to kick-start 2011 with the first day
of preseason. With head coach Dominic Kinnear currently in Brazil on a scouting
trip, assistant coach Wade Barrett took the reigns today and led the players
through a training session which included light ball work, as well as running
drills to shake off the rust of an offseason that was longer than usual for a
Dynamo club accustomed to playing deep into November.

Click here to see photos from the first day of training 

“I’ve been involved in quite a few of these first day
practices with the Dynamo, albeit this time as a member of the coaching staff,”
Barrett said. “We are definitely excited about a lot of things. As far as the
team goes, there is always change in the offseason, and it’s difficult to see
many of our former players move on. Looking around the locker room today at
some of the same faces we have seen in the past plus some of the players we
have brought in, we are extremely excited about this new group of players.” 

With eight new players on the roster, including Colin Clark,
who was acquired last September for Brian Mullan, the Dynamo will use the next few
weeks to not only scout their opponents, but familiarize themselves with the players in their own locker room. Dynamo
captain Brian Ching, who Geoff Cameron quipped is entering his 15th season in the league, is excited to put the 2010 season behind him. 

“After last year we were all disappointed,” Ching said. “I can
honestly say I was pretty excited to get back this year. When you look at
everything that went on during the offseason, with the stadium developments,
the training facility being built, and all the new faces we have, I cannot wait
to get things started and turn last season around.” 

VIDEO: Watch reaction from the first day of training

With so many new faces on the squad, there is still much work to be done if the Dynamo look to move back to their place atop
the Western Conference standings. Although many veteran
players are gone and a slew of young talent is on board, the goals and expectations of the club
are still the same. 

“Professional sports is all about change and getting better
and improving,” Ching said. “I think the coaching staff has done a great job this offseason. They have worked extremely hard - possibly harder than they ever have - going out
and recruiting new players and bringing in young players with talent, and I think
that is only going to help us out this year. I don’t think we know how good we
are going to be just yet, but I think we have the potential to be a great team.”

Clark continues rehab

Midfielder Colin Clark did not train with the team today, as he continues his recovery from a rupture in the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. For the next two weeks, Clark will primarily work in the weight room with the training staff and build up his endurance, before joining his teammates on the field for ball work.

Newton joins training sessions

Goalkeeper Evan Newton, the Dynamo's first-round pick in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft, participated in his first Dynamo training session on Monday. Newton, a recent graduate of Old Dominion University, trained with D.C. United last summer. The Dynamo's other supplemental draft pick, Creighton midfielder Sergio Castillo, will complete the spring semester before pursuing professional soccer.