Steve Ralston is the newest addition to the Houston Dynamo coaching staff. The St. Louis, MO native spent 15 years in Major League Soccer, splitting time between the Tampa Bay Mutiny and the New England Revolution, with a brief stint playing for A.C. St. Louis of USSF Division 2. 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.
How has the transition been to Houston?
It's been good. I've known a lot of these guys for a long time, playing with and against quite a few of them. They have accepted me, and it's been good. I love John Spencer, he's a great guy, and I have big shoes to fill, but I've enjoyed it so far. It's my first real experience as a coach.
The city has been great. I am tyring to get settled in and get the family down here. Obviously the weather is a little different, to say the least, but I enjoy the heat. I like knowing I can go outside in shorts and T-shirt.
What do you think is the most difficult part of the transition?
For me, if I would have stayed and coached in New England, I would have known every day the habits and the drills. Here, it is completely different. Obviously I have had help with Wade [Barrett] and Tim [Hanley] and Dom [Kinnear]. So I'm just trying to feel my way through it. But it's all new to me. It's just a completely different animal being a coach to a player.
Is coaching something you have always thought about doing?
I think so. I think when you get older as a player, you have to start thinking about what you are going to do when you are done playing. You can't play forever. I have always wanted to stay involved in the game, I have always wanted to be a coach. I wasn't sure at what level, and when this opportunity came up I thought it was an opportunity I could not say, 'No' to.
What do you think is your greatest asset as a coach?
Obviously I have a lot of experience. I've played a lot of games in this league and know the league pretty well. I'm here to learn as well from Dom and the other guys and contribute any way I can.
Tell us about your professional relationship with Dominic Kinnear.
We played together in Tampa Bay for a couple years in the late 90s. So we have known each other for awhile and been friends since then. He is someone I have always respected and admired.
You have had a long and illustrious MLS career; what is your greatest moment?
I think as a player, any time you represent your country it's special, so playing for the U.S. national team was the highlight of my career.
Is that what you are most proud of?
Soccer-wise, yeah, absolutely. Obviously you guys know you beat us in a couple finals in New England, and for us to get to four finals and not win one was disappointing. But the fact is that we had a consistent team and were playing for championships, and we won SuperLiga and an Open Cup. Any time you win a trophy, that's great. But for me, I'm most proud of my time with the national team.