The Dynamo Academy provides a unique opportunity for players to grow within the organization and to see that growth come to fruition on the playing field. One shining example of the Academy’s success is midfielder Francisco Navas Cobo.
After joining the Dynamo Academy in 2009, Navas Cobo impressed first Academy-level and then first-team coaches and was given the chance to attend the Dynamo preseason training camp. He soon made a positive impression and was signed to the first team in March as the youngest player to be contracted by the Houston Dynamo, an honor well deserved.
Since then, he has made his debut for the United States U-20 national team and seen his first game action as a professional on April 17 in the match against Chivas USA. Although he was only in the game for the final 90 seconds and did not get to touch the ball, that hardly mattered to Navas Cobo. He was excited about the prospect of future games.
“It’s not going to be my last one,” he said. “I want to have the chance to get the ball and, hopefully, score.”
Navas Cobo will probably get that chance, but his biggest legacy so far is the chance afforded him by the Dynamo Youth Development System, presented by Statoil. With camps for soccer players from 5-18 years old, including Kids Camps for the youngest players and moving up to the development-focused Centers of Excellence, the Dynamo offer kids of all skill levels the chance to enjoy and improve their soccer.
Founded in 2007, the Academy has been constantly providing possibilities for young men to grow as soccer players and as individuals. For competitive players, the Dynamo offer chances to graduate from the Centers of Excellence to the Dynamo Junior Academy and Dynamo Academy competitive teams via the Elite Camp tryouts.
Dynamo Elite Camps are the most intense and competitive training, designed to identify talented players to join the Academy and be seen by first-team coaches. This year, the Dynamo are even offering an overnight camp in San Antonio to provide a more complete experience in which players get a first-hand taste of a professional training environment, from eating healthy off the field to developing technical skills on it.
Goalkeeper Tyler Deric, the first home-grown player to join the Dynamo first team, and Navas Cobo, the youngest and the first to see game action, are setting the example for Houston-area youngsters. Now all they need to do is sign up and follow their dreams.