Five players from the Houston Dynamo Academy signed letters of intent on Wednesday and will continue their soccer careers at Division I programs this fall.
The group of signees is part of the Dynamo Academy Under-18 team, under head coach and Houston Dynamo director of youth development James Clarkson. The Academy U-18s are currently 11-2-1 (34 points) this season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and in first place, with a 12 point lead, in the Frontier Division of the Central Conference.
“We are all very proud of the boys and their commitment on and off the field,” Clarkson said. “All the schools are getting outstanding players and young men. We still have a number of seniors that we are working with to get into schools.”
A pair of the Dynamo Academy signees will enter college together this fall. Defender David Brown and midfielder Christian Lucatero signed with Oregon State University. The Beavers reached the second round of the 2014 NCAA tournament under head coach Steve Simmons. Brown joined the Dynamo Academy in 2008 and reached the Academy Finals week with the U-16s in 2013 and Academy Playoff Week in 2014 with the U-18s.
Lucatero joined the Dynamo Academy in 2010 and was part of a U.S. U-18 national team camp in April 2014. After scoring 15 goals last season, he currently leads the U-18s with nine goals in 13 games, including six in his last four games. Lucatero was named Dynamo Academy Player of the Year in 2013 and Players' Player of the Year in 2014.
Goalkeeper Johan Welch signed with the University of North Carolina and head coach Carlos Somoano. UNC has won two NCAA national championships, including the 2011 title. Welch joined the Academy in 2010 and is a member of the Trinidad & Tobago U-20 national team and started all five games at the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championships. Welch follows his brother Garrett, another Dynamo Academy graduate who played in 17 games as a freshman at Southern Methodist University in 2014.
Goalkeeper Andy Rios signed with the University of New Mexico under head coach Jeremy Fishbein. Rios also joined the Dynamo Academy in 2011 and has recorded five shutouts in eights starts this season. Rios will join former Academy players Matt Dorsey and Gabe Camera with the Lobos.
Defender Noe Ochoa is headed to Northern Illinois University and head coach Eric Luzzi. The Pasadena Memorial high school senior joined the Dynamo Academy in 2012 and has appeared in all 14 games this season, starting 13. Ochoa’s older brother Alex also played for the Dynamo Academy and played in 17 games for West Virginia University in 2014.
Below are the Dynamo Academy members who signed letters of intent on Wednesday:
David Brown: Oregon State University
High School: Montgomery
Christian Lucatero: Oregon State University
High School: Pasadena
Johan Welch: University of North Carolina
High School: Strake Jesuit College Prep
Andy Rios: University of New Mexico
High School: Goose Creek Memorial
Noe Ochoa: Northern Illinois University
High School: Pasadena Memorial
The Dynamo Academy was launched in 2007 and features teams at the U-18, U-16, U-15, U-14, U-13, U-12 and U-11 levels. The Academy trains at Houston Sports Park, adjacent to Methodist Champions Field, the training field for the Dynamo first team. Click here for more information.
The Dynamo first team continues preseason on Saturday with a preaseason game against the Portland Timbers in Tucson, Ariz. The game will begin at 7 p.m. CT and will be streamed live at www.HoustonDynamo.com. The Dynamo open the 2015 MLS season on Saturday, March 7 when they host Columbus Crew SC at BBVA Compass Stadium. Tickets for the 2015 season are available here or by calling (713) 276-GOAL.