As the 2011 season draws closer, HoustonDynamo.com will introduce you to the newest members of the Dynamo roster. With 10 players who have yet to play a game for the Dynamo, the squad will feature a new look in 2011.
We start the series with the rookies and goalkeeper Evan Newton. Selected in the first round of the MLS Supplemental Draft, Newton earned a roster spot as the Dynamo’s third goalkeeper during preseason training.
A former member of the United States U-17 national team and a collegiate standout at Old Dominion University, Newton hails from the same hometown – Virginia Beach, Va. – as Dynamo favorites Corey Ashe and Wade Barrett.
MEET EVAN NEWTON
HD.com: What’s your soccer background?
Evan: Growing up, I played club soccer in Virginia Beach. Then I got invited to go to residency down in Bradenton, Florida, with the U-17 national team for a couple of years. I graduated early and then played at Old Dominion University, and now I’m here.
HD.com: What is your earliest soccer memory?
Evan:I scored a diving header one time in U-10 that I just remember for some reason. I was playing center midfield at the time.
HD.com: What was your most memorable soccer moment prior to
joining the Dynamo?
Evan: Definitely the NCAA tournaments. This past year, going to UVA and beating them at their place, which is always a tough place to play. In other years, going to Brown and beating them there when they were ranked fifth in the country. A lot of those wins in the NCAAs stick with you a bit.
HD.com: What do you remember about being drafted and being
offered a contract?
Evan: Those were big days. I was under the radar a little bit, maybe looked over, and then I got a call from [Dynamo goalkeepers coach] Tim [Hanley], and a few days later they drafted me. I was really stoked about that. I came here and have been working hard trying to get a spot. Luckily after a couple weeks they offered me a contract, and it feels good – it’s the dream.
HD.com: What are your early impressions of the club?
Evan: It’s a good group of guys. Everybody makes you feel at home and makes you feel welcome. The coaching staff is great. They make you feel comfortable so you can come in and perform, and you don’t have to worry about anything else.
HD.com: What are your favorite things about Houston?
Evan: I have some family here, so that’s cool. I’m from the beach, so I’m a laid-back guy, and it’s not a city where everyone’s on the go all the time. It’s laid-back here as well, so that’s good. It has good weather – I don’t know if I’m going to be saying that in a couple months – but so far the weather’s nice.
HD.com: What soccer player have you looked up to in your career?
Evan: Goalkeeper-wise, I like Peter Schmeichel, who played for Manchester United. I don’t like Manchester United specifically, but I thought he was a great goalkeeper. Growing up, I admired him, and now Tim Howard, Brad Friedel, and Kasey Keller are the obvious choices, being an American goalkeeper.
HD.com: What is the best part and the worst part of being a
Evan: I don’t know if there are any good parts! The worst part is just you’re always wrong, and [carrying] the gear obviously, but that’s not too bad. The best part: Nobody has any dirty on you yet. I guess that’s the best part.
HD.com: What has been the biggest adjustment to pro soccer?
Evan: I think the fact that it’s your job. You’ve done it your whole life for fun and because you love it. Now it’s your job and it’s how you feed yourself. So every day you have to take it that way. It’s not just because you love it, but it’s also how you provide for yourself.
HD.com: What are your hopes for the 2011 season?
Evan: I want to make a good impression here and work hard and do what I can and try to work my way up the ladder. I know I’m a rookie and I have to pay my dues – everybody has – but that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable being the third guy. The two in front of me are great guys and have been helping me out, but I want to challenge them because everybody wants to play at the end of the day.