Houston Dynamo

Canetti's Corner - August 30, 2010

Welcome to edition No. 17 of my weekly blog. It appears on the new HoustonDynamo.com every Monday.

Last week, our ownership publicly pledged its support for signing a Designated Player (or players). Having the support of ownership on this potential investment is fantastic, especially at a time when they are making a huge investment into the new stadium. Our ownership is clearly behind the organization and sees the Dynamo’s on-going potential both on and off the field.

In a dinner meeting with AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke, Dominic Kinnear and I were given parameters for our pursuit of the Designated Player. The general message is: 'Think big.' We have been given the clearance and resources to make the signing for the 2011 season.

We are now working on a plan to identify and recruit a player (or players). Ideally, we will find a player in the January transfer window and have him here for the full season. This is our goal. Realistically, it will be more opportunistic to find a player in the July transfer window. There is an unpredictable nature to the international transfer business, so we’ll simply have to be ready and prepared.

As we engage in the process and begin our pursuit, I want to caution fans that finding a Designated Player is not easy. Yes, it’s easy to name names and create wish-lists, but making it happen is a different story. There are many variables that go into it, and at a minimum it requires a combination that includes the right player, the right timing, and the right economics. With that said, we will do our best to aggressively seek a DP that fits our team and excites our fan base.

The good news is that foreign players are interested in coming to Houston and the Dynamo. The organization, the coaching staff, the fan base, and the market have a strong reputation internationally. While 2011 will be our final season at Robertson Stadium, I do not see it as an impediment to signing players. I see other non-controllable factors as much bigger stumbling blocks. I think the opening of our training complex in 2011 is a draw, as it will be one of the best in MLS.

Also, finding a DP is only part of our off-season plan. The big picture is most important, and we will also look to make overall improvements through the college draft, the re-entry draft, new signings, and trades. I’ll address this in more detail at a later date.

Last week, our ownership was in town to discuss the stadium developments. The key messages were our plans to open in 2012 and break ground by the end of the year. The key issues impacting those plans are the deals on the Sports Authority lease and the private financing. Each week we continue to make progress. Last week we held two days of design meetings with the architects and engineers. It is coming together nicely, and we expect to have some updated concepts and renderings soon. We hope to select a general contractor next week. This selection will further accelerate the process. I’ll keep you posted on these developments as they occur.

Thanks for reading this week’s edition. As always, feel free to email me at ccanetti@houstondynamo.com.