Dynamo hire Ralston as assistant coach

Major League Soccer assist leader Steve Ralston, one of the league’s top players over the last 15 years, will join the Houston Dynamo coaching staff as an assistant to head coach Dominic Kinnear, it was announced today. Ralston, who announced his retirement from the New England Revolution following their SuperLiga match Tuesday, is expected to join the Dynamo in time for Saturday’s road match against the Columbus Crew.

“He’s been a fantastic player over the years,” Kinnear said of Ralston. “Being friends with him, we’ve talked soccer a lot, and I have a lot of respect for his views on the game. He’s a person of excellent character, and he’s very honest and loyal, and for me that makes a great addition to the staff.”

Ralston replaces John Spencer, Kinnear’s assistant since 2006, who left the club earlier this month to pursue other opportunities.

A native of St. Louis, Ralston is the all-time MLS leader in assists (135), games (378), starts (372), and minutes played (33,143). As a midfielder, he played in four MLS Cup finals for New England, including two against the Dynamo in 2006 and 2007. Ralston was named an MLS All-Star seven times and to the MLS Best XI three times. He is the only three-time recipient of the MLS Fair Play Award.

On the international level, Ralston appeared 36 times for the United States national team and scored four goals, including the game-winning goal against Mexico on September 3, 2005, as the United States clinched qualification for the World Cup. He was an alternate for the World Cup squad but has represented the United States at the Gold Cup three times, including championship squads in 2005 and 2007.

In his club career, Ralston was drafted by the Tampa Bay Mutiny out of Florida International University in 1996, the league’s inaugural season, and won the first MLS Rookie of the Year award that season. He played six years for Tampa Bay before the club was contracted, including three years as a teammate of Kinnear. Ralston was then selected by the Revolution in the MLS Allocation Draft and spent the next eight years with New England. After a brief stint with hometown club AC St. Louis in 2010, he rejoined the Revolution in June. His club championships include the 2007 U.S. Open Cup and 2008 SuperLiga titles.

Ralston joins former Dynamo captain Wade Barrett and goalkeepers coach Tim Hanley on Kinnear’s staff.

The Dynamo will host the 2010 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Reliant Stadium on Wednesday, July 28, and tickets are still available at HoustonDynamo.com or by calling (713) 276-7500.

The Houston Dynamo are a Major League Soccer club that has won two MLS Cup championships in its first four seasons and represented the United States in international competition in four consecutive years. For more information, log on to www.HoustonDynamo.com or call (713) 276-7500.