A month ahead of the Houston Dynamo’s first ever matchup against an English Premier League opponent, MLSsoccer.com caught up with Bolton Wanderers head coach Owen Coyle about his impressions of the Dynamo, the scouting of former Dynamo star Stuart Holden, and Coyle's impressions of Major League Soccer.
MLSsoccer.com: What benefits do coming to the United States for the preseason present for an EPL club?
Coyle: This will be my fourth time coming to the U.S., and it’s a perfect workout to prepare for the EPL season. The facilities are first-class, there’re no language issues, and the food and hygiene are also first-class.
I also love the people in the U.S., because they’re so friendly and they seem to be enjoying the football, [which is] getting better year by year in the U.S. So for us, it’s a win-win situation.
MLSsoccer.com: What were your impressions of the Dynamo when you scouted Stuart Holden?
Coyle: I signed Stuart mostly from watching games from the Dynamo. I watched most of his games, and everything I saw they looked an absolute standard. Stuart was a young, hungry player for the Dynamo, and I felt if we brought him over that he’d be good in the EPL and he’d continue to get better, and he’s done that.
He’s had two horrendous injuries with the club, but he’s shown when he’s played that he’s one of the top players in midfield in a league with world-class players.
MLSsoccer.com: What has Stuart told you about what to expect from the city of Houston itself and the Dynamo?
Coyle: Stuart talks endlessly about Houston and the Dynamo, because he loves what the club did for him and he loved his time there. For me, I personally love the heat, and it’s one of the reasons for us to come there because I think it's perfect conditions for our players to work hard so we start the season proper.
You start the season proper because of the workout and preparation of playing some terrific teams, and the Dynamo are certainly one of them. But we’re also looking to make affiliations, make friends, and that’ll serve us well for years to come.
MLSsoccer.com: What’s your impression of MLS?
Coyle: I watch the games every week, and I think the league itself and teams are getting better every year. I’ve always said that I feel that in the not too distant future, the U.S. will have a major say in the World Cup because of how the game’s progressing at both the grassroots and professional level with MLS. It’s a terrific league filled with fantastic players and great young players coming into the teams.
I watched the Seattle versus Vancouver match, and there were some terrific goals. I love watching the matches, because they’re real entertaining for the fans. We’re the same in the EPL. We have the best league in the world, because we’re entertaining for the fans, and they’re the crux of the sport. I think the MLS [teams] are doing the same.
MLSsoccer.com: If you could tell the fans something about Bolton, what would it be?
Coyle: What you’ll find is a team that’s built as a family, so I think you’ll find a group of players that will interact, and while yes, they’re some of the best in the world, they’re very grounded and humble. I think they’ll see a club with tremendous history and tradition who loves winning football games and loves to attack. We recognize it’ll be a tough game because Houston is fit, and that’s what we’re looking forward to.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.