Houston Dynamo executive Chris Canetti has been promoted from Chief Operating Officer to President of Business Operations, the Dynamo’s majority owner, AEG, announced today. Canetti becomes the second president in team history, succeeding Oliver Luck, who left the club at the end of June.
The new role will see Canetti expand his duties to oversee two of the Dynamo’s most significant projects: the construction of a downtown stadium, set to open in 2012, and the completion of the Houston Amateur Sports Park, a facility that will serve as the Dynamo’s training facility and provide fields available for public use.
At a press conference announcing his new title on Wednesday, Canetti announced he plans to start a fan advisory board, with which he will meet periodically to receive feedback and suggestions and provide relevant updates.
Canetti has overseen all aspects of the Dynamo business and worked with head coach Dominic Kinnear on soccer operations since joining the organization during its inaugural season in 2006. He was honored with the Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year Award from Major League Soccer in 2008 and was named to Sports Business Journal’s Forty under 40 list for 2010. He played a major role in helping bring Manchester United to Houston for the 2010 MLS All-Star Game, which was played before a sellout crowd that set a Reliant Stadium record for a soccer match.
“Our partners in Gabriel [Brener], Richard [Schafer], and Oscar [de la Hoya] actually were the most outspoken as to their confidence in Chris and we agree,” said Tim Leiweke, President & CEO of AEG. “Even with everything we have on our plate, Chris hasn’t missed a beat while filling some pretty big shoes following Oliver Luck’s departure. It is clear that Chris continues to keep the best interests of the Dynamo fans first and foremost as he leads the organization into what will be the most exciting and important years in the history of this club.”
Over the last five years, Canetti has contributed to the Dynamo’s two MLS Cup championships, two first-place finishes in the Western Conference, one appearance in the SuperLiga final, two other appearances in the SuperLiga semifinals, two trips to the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup semifinals, and two appearances in the CONCACAF Champions League.
“I am happy for Chris, as I think this is a justified reward for all his hard work he does for the organization on the business as well as the team side,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “He is one of the hardest working people I know, and I know all of us at the Dynamo benefit from working with him.”
Off the field, Canetti has helped the Dynamo lead MLS in average playoff attendance from 2006-10 and rank consistently among the league leaders in attendance. Canetti has also overseen the launch of Dynamo Charities and the success of the Dynamo Youth Development System, which has seen two players be signed to professional contracts, both of whom made their MLS debuts in 2010.
“I congratulate Chris on his promotion to president of the Houston Dynamo,” said Gabriel Brener, chairman of Dynamo equity partner Brener Sports & Entertainment. “Chris is being recognized for his dedication and leadership, as he has played a very important role in establishing the Dynamo as one of Houston’s prominent sports franchises. In addition to team and sponsorship matters, Chris’s knowledge and business relationships will be integral in the process of working with the local community in building our new stadium in downtown Houston.”
Dynamo equity partner Oscar De La Hoya added: “I’ve been very impressed in all my dealings with Chris. Soccer is a sport of the people, and I believe Chris has the right vision to make the Dynamo a team of the people and the winningest team in Houston.”
The Houston Dynamo are a Major League Soccer club that has won two MLS Cup championships in its first five seasons and represented the United States in international competition four consecutive years from 2007-10. For more information, log on to www.HoustonDynamo.com or call (713) 276-7500.