Ben Gomez / HoustonDynamo.com

Summer of Soccer kicks off in Houston

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and local dignitaries kicked off the 2010 Summer of Soccer in Houston on Thursday with an event hosting Houston's consuls from around the world.

Parker was joined by Dynamo President / GM Oliver Luck; George DeMontrond, chairman of Houston's World Cup bid committee; and Janis Schmees, executive director of the Houston-Harris County Sports Authority, among others. The Summer of Soccer includes the Dynamo Charities Cup June 19, SuperLiga July 15-21, the AT&T MLS All-Star Game July 28, and many more soccer events in Houston throughout June, July, and August.

Luck recently accepted the position of athletic director at his alma mater, West Virginia University, but will remain involved with the Dynamo for an unspecified period of time and was present to show the club's support for the campaign.

“The World Cup is the most important sporting event in the world,” Luck said. “Events like the World Cup can be friendly, but also have fierce competition.”

Luck emphasized that the Dynamo have a very diverse and international roster and fanbase, helping to make Houston an appropriate city to host the World Cup. When asked about this year's World Cup, Luck said he is picking Brazil and Spain to reach the final. He said he would love to see the United States make it but does not feel that confident.

The panel of speakers urged Houston-area fans to vote for Houston as a potential host city at www.gousabid.com. Currently, Houston is among 18 cities being considered as part of the United States bid for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup; 10-12 cities are expected to host matches if the U.S. wins the right to host a tournament. DeMontrond pointed out that Houston currently leads nationwide voting, and Parker spoke about Houston's outstanding track record of hosting major sporting events.