In one week, the Houston Dynamo will host the Stoke City Potters in the fifth annual BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup. Here is a compilation of the latest news with the Stoke City squad.
The Potters began their first week of pre-season training in France, and new manager Mark Hughes thinks it was a successful trip. It was a time for the team to get to know the managers coaching style and what will be expected from the players. Stoke City will spend this week in Staffordshire before departing for their 10-day tour to America, where they will face the Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas and the Philadelphia Union.
About a week after the start of pre-season, Hughes has assessed his squad and admits that the team has exceeded his expectations. Hughes said, "I have to say I've been really pleased with the technical ability of the squad as a whole and I think maybe I've been guilty of assuming there's a certain type of player here."
The strategy of expanding their scouting network abroad has already benefitted the Potters. In the offseason, the team made two huge deals in the transfer market with the signing of Erik Pieters from PSV Eindhoven and Marc Muniesa from Barcelona. Hughes believes that the team will be able to find more players this way. "With the insight we now have into most markets, we were ahead of the game. The fact we have been able to bring in two quality players should be reassuring for everybody," said Hughes.
Barcelona up-and-comer Nando Quesdao appears to be the next addition to Stoke city, continuing their plan of recruiting abroad. The U-19 midfielder is a friend of newly acquired Muniesa. If Quesdao does sign, then he will be another addition "to what looks like a very talented group of youngsters coming through to the first team."
Former Dynamo Geoff Cameron looks to impress Hughes, hopefully at center-half. "I was either playing right-back or defensive centre midfield last season and I was never given the opportunity to play centre-back because I guess Tony Pulis didn't see me there at centre-back, or he didn't want to play me there, even though he could see me in that position with the national team, which I thought I played really well. But he had his guys that he trusted and chose, so he never really gave me the opportunity at centre-back. So it'll be interesting to see what happens when I go back to Stoke," Cameron said.