The Dynamo gained stability for the future on Tuesday, announcing that three important pieces of the roster have signed new contracts with the club. Will Bruin, Giles Barnes and Tyler Deric, a trio that combined to make 87 starts last season, will be back in 2016 and for the foreseeable future.
The group represents three different avenues for building a club in MLS. Bruin was selected in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft out of Indiana University. Barnes signed as a free agent in August 2012 after injuries slowed his career following his debut at 17 with Derby County in the English Championship. Deric signed as the first Homegrown Player in club history in 2009 after time with the Dynamo Academy and one season at the University of North Carolina.
Now, with three players secured for next season and beyond, the technical staff shifts focus to the remainder of the roster as the club tries to snap a two-year playoff drought. Currently, the Dynamo have 17 players under contract for the 2016 season, while current MLS rules allow 28 players on the roster.
The Dynamo are in ongoing discussions with veteran midfielders Ricardo Clark and Boniek García, as well as defenders Sheanon Williams, Jermaine Taylor, Kofi Sarkodie and midfielder Nathan Sturgis. The club is also in discussions with Argentinian club Independiente concerning midfielder Leonel Miranda, who spent the 2015 season on loan with the Dynamo. Clark and Sturgis are both eligible for free agency while García and Taylor are eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft, with Stage One set for Dec. 11.
Like every offseason, the club will navigate the salary cap as it looks to build the roster for the 2015 season. Financial restrictions factor into contract decisions with all players.
Last year, the Dynamo acquired Sturgis and Hoffman through the Re-Entry Draft, and added goalkeeper Joe Willis through a trade with D.C. United. The club signed defender Raúl Rodriíguez as a free agent after four and a half years with Espanyol in La Liga and added Miranda on a season-long loan. Houston also purchased forward Erick “Cubo” Torres from Chivas Guadalajara, signed midfielder Memo Rodriguez as a Homegrown Player and added three more – Rob Lovejoy, Zach Steinberger and Taylor Hunter – through the MLS SuperDraft. In all, ten new additions were made to the club before the 2015 season.