HOUSTON – One of Boniek García's most noticeable traits since coming to Houston has been simple: consistency. The always-smiling Honduran is a sure bet to put in an honest effort every time he steps on the field.
It may come as a surprise, then, that Honduran national team head coach Luis Fernando Suárez says that's a new thing. The technique and skill have always been there – García very clearly has an abundance of talent – but it is off the field where Suárez says his star has changed.
García toiled in relative anonymity, at least on a regional level, while playing for Honduran powerhouse Olimpia. But just a year after taking MLS by storm he has established himself as a “name” in the league.
“When he was [at Olimpia] he was always a very good player but he was just one more of the group,” Suárez said through a translator. “Here he’s more committed mentally and physically and he wants to be one of the frontrunners of the club.
“He’s one of those players who I’ll always have with me as long as I’m the coach because of the fact that I know his quality, his characteristics, I trust him and I know he’s always going to give an honest effort.”
Suárez was in Houston this week to meet with García and Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear as part of a series of visits he will make with the numerous Honduran national team players plying their trade in MLS.
“They’re the ones that have supported our club as of late,” Suarez said about his MLS players. “Especially with the games that we played against Canada and Cuba, they were the players that played a bigger role than others. I think they’re really going to support us this year especially as we get closer to the World Cup cycle.”
García has been a standout among that group in the Hexagonal round of World Cup Qualifying. He had a man of the match performance in a 2-1 win against the US in the opening fixture of the round and was influential in a comeback 2-2 draw versus Mexico.
Moving forward, García will be a player counted on to put in the same type of performances to lead his team and a nation starving for big-time soccer success to the next level. It is a level of play the coach is happy to see come out of García since leaving his homeland.
“He always wanted to leave Honduras and he never had the opportunity to leave,” Suárez continued. “Now that he’s playing abroad he’s showing a bigger level of commitment. He’s showing why he should have been out there from the beginning.”
During the session García and the Dynamo did light work, which meant there was little to see for the national team boss. But the presence of the coach was not lost on García.
“It speaks to the importance I have within the national team group,” García said through a translator. “The fact he was able to come here and watch me play, it was very motivating to see that and that he sees me as a big part of the group. It’s motivating moving forward.”
However, he may just need a little more time to get back to his best. García missed his third game in a row through injury – although he was on the bench – against Toronto FC, continuing his slow start to the season.
“I think that the start of this year hasn’t been that good, at least in MLS terms, because he hasn’t had a lot of rhythm and he’s been injured,” Suárez observed. “This gives him a clean slate to come back fully fit and play at the level he’s used to playing at. I’m fully confident he’ll be able to come back and play as well as he’s using to playing.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.