When the Houston Dynamo played the Montreal Impact in a preseason friendly Wednesday afternoon, there were approximately 50-60 spectators surrounding the practice field at The Home Depot Center. Some of the spectators were fans, others were media, some were coaches from other clubs, but one man stuck out, more so for his work on the football field than the soccer pitch.
With only two months to go before the 2012 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck - a projected top-two pick - took time out of his busy schedule to watch the Dynamo match. Luck, the son of former Dynamo President/GM Oliver Luck, was eager to watch the team that he grew up rooting for. Following Houton's 2-0 victory, Luck went over to the Dynamo sideline to chat with some of his old friends, including head coach Dominic Kinnear.
"It was great seeing Andrew out there," Kinnear said. "He used to come out to [Dynamo] games with a bunch of buddies and yell for the team. He always cracked me up because he called me 'coach' and I used to tell him, 'Andrew, if you keep calling me coach, I'm going to have to beat you up one day,' which of course wasn't the case because he was always a big man."
Growing up, Luck spent most of his childhood in Europe, where his father served as general manager for two World League of American Football teams. Finally, the Luck family settled in Houston, when Oliver was named CEO of Houston-Harris Country Sports Authority before taking his position with the Dynamo. Andrew attended Stratford High School and threw for 7,139 career yards and 53 touchdowns in three seasons.
"When we first got to Houston, I went and saw him play," Kinnear said. "We heard he was a promising young player so I thought I would take a look and see how he was in person. When I went to go see him I was completely blown away at how good he was."
After his standout career at Stratford, Luck enrolled at Stanford University and cemented his place among the all-time great collegiate quarterbacks. After four years at Stanford, Luck decided to forego a potential fifth year and he declared for the NFL draft. Experts believe that Luck could be the first player selected in April's draft.
As a northern California native, and someone who worked closely with Oliver Luck for four seasons, Kinnear was eager to catch up with Andrew following Wednesday's scrimmage.
"I asked him how life is at Stanford, since I'm from northern California and have an interest in that area," Kinnear said. "We talked a little about soccer but mostly about how his family was doing. To see everything that he has accomplished and will accomplish is pretty awesome. He is a good kid and he deserves everything he is getting."