Cruz, Chabala make reality show debuts

Dynamo players coach youngster in episode of MTV's MADE

HOU_20110124_training_07_Cruz_Chabala

Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

Dynamo players Danny Cruz and Mike Chabala added to their
celebrity on Monday when they appeared on an episode of MTV’s MADE, coaching an aspiring soccer player in Arizona.

For Cruz, the role coaching Michael Schwenke into his high
school soccer tryouts hit very close to home when Cruz was approached late in the
Dynamo’s 2010 season. He agreed to participate and invited Schwenke to meet him
at the Dynamo’s final home game of the season against the Seattle Sounders.
From there, the experience took off.

“I really enjoyed getting along with Michael and learning about
his family, and it was a bonus that it was in my home state,” Cruz said. “Our
families come from similar backgrounds, and I enjoyed it. It was great to help
a kid try to achieve a goal that he didn’t think he’d be able to do.”

Cruz, who went to Ironwood
High School in Glendale,
returned to the Phoenix
area to coach Schwenke all the way through tryouts for the varsity and JV
soccer teams at Dobson High School. True to his own roots, he emphasized fitness
and hard work in his coaching sessions.

“It was a fun experience for me to try and coach somebody,”
Cruz said. “It was definitely a difficult experience, trying to be patient and
work through a lot of adversity, but it was a good time.”

The bond that developed between Schwenke and Cruz was never
more evident than when Cruz was called away due to an unforeseen scheduling
conflict, bringing in Chabala as a replacement just days before tryouts
concluded.

“It was tough, because I tried to emphasize that it was
going to be he and me through the end, and we were going to work as hard as we
could,” Cruz said. “To have to go back on that and say, ‘Listen, I’m here for
you and we did this together, but work has me leaving,’ was very difficult.”

Cruz’s training stint with Nottingham Forest
and Generation adidas – a previously scheduled commitment – left both parties a
little emotional.

“I’m an emotional guy, and he got teary-eyed when I was
saying our last goodbye, and I started feeling like tears might come down too,”
Cruz said. “It wasn’t easy whatsoever to go every single day and then pick up
and leave, but it was a learning experience for both of us.”

With Cruz forced to fly overseas, he brought in teammate
Mike Chabala for a little assistance to help Schwenke through the final stages
of his tryouts.

“I was the closer — they brought in the lefty!” Chabala
joked. “It was Danny’s show, and obviously he had to take off, so he needed
somebody to fill in. Obviously Michael was in a tough situation, trying to go
from limited athletic experience to really making a lot of progress. It was a
positive experience hopefully for Michael and definitely for both Danny and
myself.”

Without spoiling the show’s ending, both Cruz and Chabala
walked away with a new friend and a new appreciation for the finer points of
reality TV.

“Everything you see was just me being me and him being him,
and that was the best part about it,” Cruz said. “That was the most fun: I didn’t
have to change who I was or anything like that. It was a goal that we wanted to
achieve together, and although it was difficult, we did our best.”

According to MTV, the episode will re-air at the following times:

Tuesday, Feb. 8     11 a.m. CT
Thursday, Feb. 10  2 p.m. CT
Sunday, Feb. 13     5 a.m. CT
Sunday, Feb. 13     2 p.m. CT