Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

Canetti's Corner - January 21, 2011

Welcome to edition No. 26 of my blog on HoustonDynamo.com.

Complete Canetti's Corner Archive

This is my first blog in 2011, so Happy New Year to everyone!

It's hard to believe, but the season is nearly upon us. Preseason camp opens next week, and we are less than nine weeks from opening day (Saturday, March 19). We have been busy, and there is still a lot of work to be done before the season kicks off.

We to hope to nail down a date for the stadium groundbreaking very soon. There are a few final pieces that need to come together, but I expect that things can get done within weeks. Once they do, then we'll quickly move forward with a ceremony and then construction. Fans will be invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony, so please stay tuned for details. A grand opening in April of 2012 remains the target and is realistic.

We are pleased with the progress we have made in improving the team this off-season. Last week's MLS SuperDraft was part of it. We came away with two very talented players in Kofi Sarkodie (Akron) and Will Bruin (Indiana). These players were rated high on our draft board, and we stuck to our plan of selecting the best available talent. Sarkodie was projected to be a top pick, and when he was still available at No. 7, it was an easy selection for Dom and the staff. There was a clear consensus at the draft table that he was the guy. When the chance came to trade for the No. 11 pick and get Bruin, we were compelled to act on it.

Both players have the chance to make an impact in their rookie seasons. We look forward to watching their progress this year. I think the coaching staff did a great job in scouting the college scene, and they were particularly thorough at the MLS Player Combine and well prepared for the draft.

As reported, our home-grown players, Josue Soto (SMU) and Alex Dixon (North Carolina) signed this week. They will join the club when we open camp next week. Congratulations to these fine young men who came up through our Academy program under James Clarkson. We look forward to their growth and contributions. Overall, I couldn't be more pleased with our very impressive class of rookie players.

As we approach camp, there are still more roster spots to fill. It's possible that we may add a player before camp opens, but we are more likely to make new signings during the preseason window. We are working on details to bring a number of players in on trial. It's an interesting group that Dom and the staff will get a first-hand look at. We'll provide updates on our website as trialists are confirmed.

Our current roster is as follows:

Bruin, Ching, Garey, Weaver

Ashe, Cameron, Clark, Cruz, Davis, Dixon, Navas Cobo, Palmer, Soto

Boswell, Chabala, Freeman, Graye, Hainault, Robinson, Sarkodie

Deric, Hall

I often get asked if we are feeling pressure to sign a designated player. The answer is no. We are interested in signing a DP and aggressively exploring opportunities, but we do not see the DP as the single answer to winning a title. It's a collection of good players that make a team. We will make a DP signing if and when the right player becomes available. As I've said all along, we believe such a signing is more realistic during the summer window. We'll see what happens ...

We have officially identified early April as the target for opening the Houston Amateur Sports Park training complex. Construction is progressing quite well, with the first sod laid on the Dynamo training field this week.

I hope this gives you a good overview of things. We are happy with the progress we have made to this point, excited about the upcoming season, and focused on the hard work ahead. We'll keep things going in the positive direction.

In the meantime, I hope you can continue to support the team by having season tickets (full or partial plans), and spreading the word about our product and experience to your friends, co-workers, etc. Let's keep the momentum going and grow our sport and club.

As always, feel free to email me with questions or comments at ccanetti@houstondynamo.com.