New Houston Dynamo, Houston Dash, and BBVA Compass Stadium managing partner Gabriel Brener spoke with HoustonDynamo.com about his decision to acquire the team from AEG and what he sees in store for the organization moving forward.
HoustonDynamo.com: Congratulations on becoming the new owner of the Houston Dynamo. What is it that you are most excited about as the new owner of the club?
Gabriel Brener: As you know, my family and I have always been very proud and passionate owners and now we will be able to implement a better identity to the ownership of the team. My wife Deborah and my children Philipe, Nathaniel, Jay and Jennifer are among the biggest fans we have.
HD: Having been a minority partner since 2008, why do you feel like now is the right time to assume majority ownership?
GB: The opportunity presented itself and the timing was right for our family. We believe that football/soccer in the U.S. has a tremendous future, especially in Houston.
HD: What is your vision and some of your key ideas as to how the Dynamo can continue to grow and compete for championships over the next 10 years?
GB: We will concentrate on player development and international scouting to build the best team possible. We want to win and best represent our community. We will transmit the passion for the beautiful game that relates to all ages, especially in families, and work hard to build the support of our growing fan base.
HD: It seems like you have built a dynamic ownership group with Oscar De La Hoya, Jake Silverstein and Ben Guill. Can you tell us more about the new guys, Jake and Ben, and the role they will play in the ownership group?
GB: Both are terrific additions and passionate about the club. Jake represents a growing segment of our fan base in millennials and has great ideas on how to reach out to them. Ben is a Capitan of the energy industry in Houston and will be able to help us penetrate the business sector to increase our sponsorship.
HD: How involved will you be in the club operations, and what type of presence can fans expect to see of you and your partners in and around the team?
GB: We will be available at all times to Chris Canetti and the rest of the management team to help them with anything we can. I plan to spend more time in Houston and attend a lot more games.
HD: In your eight seasons as the part-owner, what is the number-one lesson you have learned that you will take with you going forward?
GB: That I hate to lose, so we will be putting all our effort to build a winning team.
HD: With your family living in Houston and conducting business in Houston, you have been coming here since you were a boy. Can you tell us about your affinity for the city and your relationship with it?
GB: Both my sisters Susana and Lili live here. Susana moved to Houston in the early seventies. I have nieces and nephews here, and all of them are huge Dynamo supporters, sharing the passion for the game. Over the years, we have built roots in the city. I was married here, and my grandparents lived here their last years and are buried in the city. Houston really means a lot to me.
HD: As a Mexican-American, you must take particular pride in owning the Dynamo in a city with significant ethnic diversity, including a large Mexican-American population that loves soccer?
GB: Indeed I do. I believe that it presents a great opportunity for us going forward in a way where I can identify with the different groups of minorities that we have in our city and supporting our club. We are all immigrants.
HD: What do you believe is the future for the Houston Dash and NWSL?
GB: It is in its infancy and has a very bright future ahead with the increasing amount of interest in the women’s game and so many girls playing the sport. I believe the fan base will grow as well as the quality of the game. This gives an equal opportunity for women to shine.
HD: Finally, what is your most favorite and memorable Dynamo moment since you joined the club in 2008?
GB: Attending the locker room after the two finals we played in LA against the Galaxy. Even though we didn't win, I was super proud of the team and the amazing performance they put in. We had a couple of great seasons, even if we didn't win, but that didn't diminish how proud I was of the players, coaches, and the whole club.